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The Golden Rain Tree

Written by Professor Joseph Arditti and Mr.Mak Chin On

Introduction

Samanea saman, the Rain Tree (Fig. 1A-F, 2) is a large ornamental tree which can reach a height of 25 meters and a diameter of 40 meters (Fig. 1F). It has a thin, symmetrical, spreading crown which is beautiful in any park or garden setting (Fig. 1A, B, D-F) or as a pot   plant (Fig.1C).

1.  Rain Tree,  Samanea saman.
The tree does cast shade (Fig. 1F), but rain can fall through its leaves on the area beneath the crown. This allows grass and other plants to grow up to its trunk (Fig. 1A, D-F) and makes for better landscapes. In contrast other trees often prevent rain from reaching the ground beneath their crowns and the result is unsightly bare soil.

Botany

The currently accepted scientific name for the Rain Tree is Samanea saman Merrill. Names which are no longer used are Mimosa saman Jacq. Pithecolobium saman Benth.  And Enterolobium saman Prain. It belongs to the Mimosaceae, but was previous assigned to the
Leguminosae. Branches are spreading and velvety hairy.  The leaves are 2 - 4 pinnate with more or less elliptical 2 - 8 leaflets ( Fig 2). Leaves are 24 - 40 cm long, evergreen, fernlike, light green, dainty, shiny on the upper surface and hairy underneath. Leaflets are spread out when it is sunny and during the day.  At night, or when raing approaches they fold together.  This folding allows water to reach the ground under the crown.  The foliage can used as livestock fodder.
2. Rain tree, branch,leaves,flower and fruit

3.Rain Tree Flowers. Flowers (Fig 3) are 6 - 10 mm in size borne on a 10 - 13 cm stem

They are produced from spring and add beauty to an already attractive tree. The contrast between their reddish pink to crimson color and golden hue of the Golden Rain Tree make for an even more attractive tree than the green form ( Fig.5) Fruits ( Fig.2) are straight, shiny when unripe and dark brown to black whne ripe are 15 - 20 long.  The fruits contain sticky brown pulp and which is a good energy source in itself or as an additive to gasoline.  Children also like the pulp which can be made into a lemon - like beverage.  The seeds are brown.
Common names of Samanea saman are rain tree, coco tamarind, saman, monkey pod.  Other names are mimosa saman, calliandra saman, acacia propinque and inga cinerea.  The most beautiful golden form of the rain tree is called the Golden Rain Tree.

Horticulture
The rain tree and the Golden Rain Tree can be propagated from seeds.  Trees can be grown in the ground ( Fig. 1A, B, D-F) and in pots ( Fig.1C). It can grow under full sun or in the shade and requires a rich well drained soil that can be acidic or slightly alkaline.  The tree can withstand pruning and can be easily maintained at any desire height.  When grown as indoor plant the size of the tree can be regulated by the size of the pot.  The rain tree is as resistant to pest and diseases indoor as it is outdoors.

The Golden Rain Tree
A golden colored rain tree was discovered in Singapore during early 1950s.  ( Fig 4, 5) It is called the Golden Rain Tree or the Yellow Rain Tree.  Both refer to the same variety of Rain Tree.  The difference in appearance is due to differences between young and old leaves.  Young leaves are apple green in color initially but as they mature their color initially but as they mature their color changes first to yellow and then to golden.  During hot weather and dry periods the golden color appears to be more brilliant.  The same tree may take on a different appearance due the weather and the maturation of leaves.  The much more beautiful yellow variety is as easy to grow as the green form, but more striking in appearance.  It is a pest and diseases resistant as the ordinary strain, but much more attractive.  Its crown spread like that of the ordinary rain tree, but is is much more beautiful.  The Golden Rain Tree can make an ordinary landscape look special.  genetic test have shown that the yellow form is due to genetically recessive gene .  Among seedling the ratio is one yellow seedling to thousands green one. Maryland Nursery is the only establishment in Singapore and whole South East Asia to have large number supply of Golden Rain Tree.  We have several avaiable sizes of Golden Rain Trees.  Please visit us and make your selection.

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Young leaves are apple green in colour

Young leaves are apple green in color

The Singapore Botanical Garden introduced the Rain tree from South America during the year 1876 and has since then became an important road side tree.  If you travel from the airport to the town using East Coast park way you can see that it provides significant shade for the cars.

Since the discovery of the golden rain tree in the 1950s the Government has placed the golden rain tree in the most of the parks in Singapore From 1998 to 2003 the Government has concentrated many rain tree on a single stretch of road starting from Victoria Street to Hill Street and finally to South Bridge Road.

Yellow Rain were planted in Victoria Street

From Victoria Street till South Bridge Road

In 2001 The President of Sentosa Golf Course the late Mr. Dennis Lee Kim Yew placed an order for a hundred numbers of golden rain tree and Sentosa golf course became the first golf course to use it exclusively to produce a unique Golden ambience within its environment.

4.The famous Yellow Rain Tree and Golden Rain Tree

The Yellow Rain Tree

Yellow Rain Tree

Yellow Rain Tree

The Golden Rain Tree

Golden Rain Tree

Golden Rain Tree

5.The Yellow Rain Tree and the Golden Rain tree have much more attractive foliage than the green from.  And , the combination of crimson flowers are yellow foliage is really striking.

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