|Etymology||Genus||Monkey ears, likely to refer to the arching shape of the fruit|
|Species||Sweet, referring to taste of the edible aril around the seed|
|Synonyms||Mimosa dulcis Roxb., Pithecollobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth.|
|Common Names||Madras Thorn|
|Native Distribution||Tropical America|
Pithecellobium dulce used to be commonly planted, but many have been removed because of mass infestations by caterpillars during the 1970s (Wee, 2003). However, a form with varigated leaves is presently popularly cultivated as a shrub.The lobing fruits are compressed tightly around the seeds. They turn pink upon ripening and reveal a thick covering of edible white pulp around the seed.
A nice specimen of Madras Thorn showing its distinctive form in the now defunct Bidadari Cemetery.
The leaflets are asymmetrical and arranged in pairs.
The white flowers are small and pom-pom like.
The straggy branches makes it an easy species to identify from afar.
The unripe fruit pod (left) and one which have splited (right).
Seeds are dark brown and flat.