Adenanthera pavonina seed
Adenanthera pavonina, commonly known as the Red, Coralwood or the Bead Tree is an attractive deciduous tree growing from to 15 metres in the wild, but in cultivation is more normally a smaller medium sized tree.
The trunk is basically smooth with many fissures Leaves are compound bipinnate, green when young, turning yellow when old. The small, yellowish flowers grow in dense drooping racemes, almost like cat-tail-heads. Fruits are curved, hanging, green pods that turn brown, coil up and split open as they ripen to reveal small bright red seeds. These attractive seeds have been used as beads in jewellery, leis and rosaries. They were also used in ancient India for weighing gold. The seeds are curiously similar in weight. Four seeds make up about one gramme. The pulp of the fruit is used for medicinal purposes.
The young leaves can be cooked and eaten. Although the raw seeds are toxic, when cooked they are edible. The seeds are roasted, shelled, then eaten with rice in South East Asia. The wood is extremely hard and used in boat-building and making fine furniture, where its rich dark colour is highly regarded. Red sandalwood is leguminous and nitrogen -fixing.
Wood is used for furniture and art. Roots are used for red dye. Seeds have high oil content, are bright red and are often used for necklaces. A good ornamental or shade tree.