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Lonchocarpus Violaceus (Lancepod) is a medium-sized tree up to 30 feet. It has a short trunk with smooth brown bark and a dense crown of slightly droopy branches. Moreover, the leaves are evergreen, pinnate, smooth, dark green above, paler beneath, to 8 inches long. Also, the leaflets are ovate, parchment-like, round at the base, and 1/4 inch long. Flowers are borne in erect clusters, 6-10 inches long, made up of sweetly-fragrant, pea-like lavender blooms resembling lilacs, and attracting bees. Fruits are lance-shaped, pods, 2 1/2 x 1 inch, changing from green to light brown when mature, containing a single kidney-shaped brown seed. Lancepod takes its common name from the fruit shape; seeds are used for propagation. The leaves contain an active poison, the base for an organic insecticide; in Central America the brew the mark to make balche, a intoxicating beverage.
Furthermore, other parts of the plant are also poisonous and honey from the flowers may be dangerous to consume. Lonchocarpus Violaceus (Lancepod) is a hardy tree that grows on a range of poor soils, if well-drained. Despite the precautions associate with the lancepod, it is a very attractive tree with lacy leaves and strikingly colored flowers. In landscaping it is a great as a specimen, accent or shade tree or shrub in gardens and parks, in civic centers, in large planters, and in xerophytic gardens.