This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
Pongamia Pinnata (Pongam) is a legume tree reaching a height of 40 feet, and sometimes taller. It has a rounded wide dense crown which spreads to about equal its height.
Furthermore, it has a straight or crooked trunk with gray-brown bark, which is often multi-trunk and bears thorns; the branches droop slightly. Leaves are green, glossy, alternate and pinnate with 5 – 9 leaflets and a single larger terminal leaflet; blades 2 – 4 inches long. Briefly deciduous, it produces young leaves of a pinkish color. Also, flowers are pea-shape, borne on short-stalks with showy fragrant hanging clusters of blooms in groups of 2 – 4; variable in color, pink-lavender-creamy-gray. Finally, fruits are elongated dry, hard, brown pods 1 – 3 inches long, containing 1 -2 flattened, brownish poisonous seeds, used for propagation.
Additionally, Pongamia Pinnata (Pongam) is valuable for its seed oil which has medicinal value, is a lubricant and the plant has potential as a farmed biofuel. The tree can thrive in various types of well-drained soils; it is low-maintenance. It benefits from pruning and is pest and disease resistant. In landscaping, Pongam is a good specimen or shade tree in the garden or patio, along highways and in parking lots. It is self-seeding and can become invasive.
Other Names: Pongambaum, Indische Buche