Leucaena leucocephala, River Tamarind, Jumbie bean, Ipil-Ipil, 20-100 seeds


Leucaena leucocephala is an evergreen mimosoid tree native to southern Mexico and northern Central America (Belize and Guatemala) and is now naturalized throughout the tropics.

Common names include jumbay, white leadtree, river tamarind, ipil-ipil, tan tan, and white popinac.

Leucaena leucocephala is a small fast-growing tree up to 10 m (32ft) wide by 10 m (32ft) high at a fast rate.

It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid, very alkaline and saline soils.

It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Leucaena leucocephala is used for a variety of purposes, such as fencing, soil fertility, firewood, fibre, and livestock fodder.

Leucaena leucocephala has been considered for biomass production because its reported yield of foliage corresponds to a dried mass of 2,000–20,000 kg/ha/year, and that of wood 30–40 m³/ha/year, with up to twice those amounts in favourable climates. In India it is being promoted for both fodder and energy.

It is also efficient in nitrogen fixation, at more than 500 kg/ha/year.

It has a very fast growth rate: young trees reach a height of more than 20 ft in two to three years.

The young pods are edible and used in various dishes in Indonesian, Javanese, Lao, Thai and Mexican cuisine. Young leaves, pods, and flower buds - raw, steamed, in soups, with rice or mixed with chillies and other spices. Seeds - raw or cooked. The unripe seeds are mixed with grated coconut, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked. The mature, but not dried, seeds are eaten raw or cooked as a delicacy. The dried seed can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. An edible gum obtained from the plant is used in sauces.

Recently, the wood part of Leucaena tree is used for making pulp in the pulp and paper industry.

Leucaena leucocephala is considered invasive species. Please do your own research regarding invasive species in your region.

Germination method

Pre-treatment. Immerse the seeds in hot (but not boiling!) water for 1-3 minutes, or soak in warm water for 24 hours. Nicking the seed coat at the distal (cotyledon) end, using a sharp tool like scalpel, knife or nail clipper will speed speed up the process of imbibing the water.

Sowing. Sow the seeds in containers or directly in soil if moisture level is sufficient. Leucaena leucocephala is tolerate to different types of soil, but for the best results we recommend to you soil free from pathogens, fungus, and pests. If you want to use normal garden soil, ensure it is well draining. To improve drainage, add perlite and (or) sand. The seeds will start germinating in 5-7 days.

Germination rate 50-80% can be achieved in favourable conditions. When the seedlings grow to manageable size you can transplant them into individual pots.