Cookies on Plantwise Knowledge Bank

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.

Continuing to use means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Plantwise Knowledge Bank
  • Knowledge Bank home
  • Change location
Plantwise Technical Factsheet

gliricidia (Gliricidia sepium)


G. sepium forms a small to medium-sized, thornless, deciduous, single- or multiple-stemmed tree; 2-15 m and occasionally 20 m tall, and 5-30 cm and occasionally 1 m in stem diameter, with an open rounded crown, often greatly modified by lopping. The bark on young branches is smooth, grey-brown or pale whitish grey with raised pale brown lenticels, becoming fissured on boles. The leaves are alternate or sometimes sub-opposite, pinnate, 15-35 cm long, with slender, yellow-green, finely hairy rachis, an odd terminal leaflet, and 6-24 opposite (except in upper part of rachis) leaflets per leaf. Leaflets are narrowly elliptic to elliptic, rarely broadly elliptic, usually pointed at tips, 4.4-8.3 cm long, 1.7-4.8 cm wide, larger towards tip of the leaf, with characteristic dark purplish tannin patches scattered, especially on lower surface. The flowers are borne on erect, 2-15 cm long racemes arising from leaf axils, or on leafless nodes of older stems with almost synchronous maturation of 30-100 flowers on a single inflorescence. The flowers are typical of Papilionoid legumes, borne on short 5-11 mm long slender pedicels, 2 cm long, with a five-lobed campanulate (bell-shaped) calyx and a typical pea-shaped whitish-pink or purple corolla with five strongly unequal petals. The standard petal is light pink, or pink with a deep yellow basal blotch, and the blade is reflexed at 180° when the flower is fully open. The wing and keel petals are also usually pink. There are 10 whitish stamens, 9 united into a tube and one free. The pods are 10-17 cm long and 1.4-2.2 cm wide, strongly compressed, green sometimes tinged maroon and fleshy unripe, drying mid yellow-brown when ripe, and opening explosively when dry with the pod valves twisting into tight spirals after dehiscence. There are 3-10 lenticular, round or elliptic, yellow-brown, darker orange-brown when mature, seeds per pod, 8.5-11.5 mm in diameter.

Zoomed image