Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Dendrolobium umbellatum (L.) Benth.

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Eudicots
Order:Fabales
Family:Fabaceae
Genus:Dendrolobium
Species:D. umbellatum
Status:Common

Description

This is a shrub that can grow into a small tree of up to 3 m or more tall. Leaves are 3-foliate, leaflets elliptical to broadly ovate, the lower surface covered with hairs. The terminal leflet is 5-14 x 3.5-7 cm while the lateral leaflets 3-11 x 1.5-6 cm. The inflorescence is axillary and bears 10-20 white flowers. The pod is 3-5 jointed, 7-8 x 3.5-5 mm, slightly curved and constricted between the seeds.

Read more about the Fabales order.
Read more about the Fabaceae family.

Distribution

From East Africa, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, eastward to Myanmar, Thailand, Indo-China, China, Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands, throughout Malesia, northern Australia and further east to the Pacific Islands.

Localities

Loyang, Pulau Semakau, Pulau Tekong

Ecological Role

Found in littoral habitats as well as forest edges, river banks, savanna, secondary forest and rocky cliffs, it functions as a soil improver, considering that it has the capacity to fixing free nitrongen via the nitrogen fixing bacteria in the root nodules.

Human Uses

In traditional medicine the crushed leaves and shoots are used to massage an enlarged spleen resulting from malaria; a decoction of the leaves is drunk as a general tonic; and the flowers are used to treat gonorrhoea and irregular menstruation.  The plant is considered astringent and the young leaves are used as an ingredient of a post-partum medicine after childbirth. In India the plant is used as a fodder.

References

Chong, K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & R. T. Corlett, 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 273 pp.

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