Shrubby, arid climate tree with a world of uses, most notably for cattle fodder, and decoration.
Shrubby bush or tree often only to 6-8ft but occasionally to 30-60ft. The tree has a huge wealth of uses, and is an extremely fast-grower, but care should be taken in some regions to control growth as the seeds are easily dispersed by birds and grazing cattle.
Only mildly hardy, probably not surviving temperatures lower than 32F.
Grows very well in arid tropical climates and can become a pest species in such climates. Grows best under full sun, needs little water or care once established. Very fast grower. Grows in practically any soil type, doesn't mind salt spray.
By seed, upon which seedlings can take less than 12 months to come into bearing.
Young pods are cooked and eaten as vegetables. Seeds can be used as a substitute for coffee, and when cooked can be eaten like popcorn. Commonly used in tropical regions as cattle fodder. Larger growing trees are used to shade coffee and cacao plantations. Hard seeds are incorporated into jewelery. Historically, the bark was used to treat stomach pain, and as a contraceptive.
Native to Central America but has naturalized in many tropical regions.