‘travellers’ terror’;
Bangladesh (N); Bhutan (N); India (N) ; Andhra Pradesh ; Karnataka ; Kerala ; Pondicherry ; Sikkim ; Tamil Nadu ; Uttar Pradesh ; West Bengal ; Myanmar (N) as per ILDIS;

Flower ID request | AR02:
Flower Opposite, size- small, 1 cms, plant height -2 meters, Chamundi Hills, Mysore 26 Jul 2008.

Yes this is Pterolobium hexapetalum, aptly known as ‘travellers’ terror’. It is good looking when its in flowering. Flowers are very fragrant. But we had had our toughest times with this plant in the field. While damaging your clothes and skin, it will apply frequent brakes during treks, with its spines that point all directions.

260612 BRS386: Pl. find the attached file contain photos for id. request.
Location: Anaikatti, Coimbatore Dist. (640 MSL)
Date: 25.06.2012
Habitat: Wild
Habit: Woody climber?

This plant is Pterolobium hexapetalum (Roth) Sant. & Wagh


ID No. MS 110912-100- Pterolobium hexapetalum:
Attaching herewith photographs of a shrub , most probably, Pterolobium hexapetalum. Photos taken at Kanaka giri hillsl Karnataka on 10.9.12. ID confirmation requested.

Agree with … id.
It is commonly known as “Traveler’s terror“!

wonder why?

Pterolobium hexapetalum is one of the dominant species in the scrub jungles and foothills. The plants, with their copiously prickled arching branches, form thick and impenetrable cover on the floor, over rocks and also on other bushes and small trees.
In such forests, the botanists (and sometimes goats), used to/ have to create our way among these scrubs. Whatever direction we step forward, the branches with the hooked prickles that face all directions, will surely hold our clothes and skin from moving forward. We have to stop, keep a few steps back in the same position to get rid of the prickles that has already made scratches on skin and has given a furry appearance to the clothes. And, one will encounter this situation few to several times a day depend on forest type. Its obvious to get scratches all over the skin and bleeding and pains are normal and expected during the battle against these terrors, especially if you don’t want to miss exploring such forests. Of course, not all the scrub forests are like this, at the same time there are forests fully dominated by this species. My study area has plenty of them! Its difficult and time-consuming to cut the branches and clear the way.
So the name “Traveler’s Terror”!

But, the flowers are really very beautiful and pleasantly fragrant 🙂 You can see swarm of bees around during flowering. Fruits are also attractive looking! What a combination!

Thanks … for prompt a reply… you must be up early…and already at work … my wonderment was because the only plant I had remembered as referred to as a terror for travelers was another prickly plant …nettles of some sort… esp in australian scrub… which will inject histamine in the skin its prickles penetrated…. but this plant sounds like a real terror… dont rememebr where I read it.. was a long time ago…
poison ivy and poison sumac are terrors but not to these proportions …

Pterolobium hexapetalum (Roth) Santapau & Wagh SN May 14 :  1 post by 1 author. Attachments (1).
Pterolobium hexapetalum (Roth) Santapau & Wagh,
straggling shrub with hooked spines; common in the scrub jungles of plains and foot hills.


ARJUL30 Thorny shrub for ID : 4 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (3).
Found in Bangalore. 20th July

Fruit- Attachments (1)

The fruit pods look like Pterolobium hexapetalum.


ANAPR59 Pterolobium hexapetalum (Roth) Santapau & Wagh : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (11)

Family: Caesalpiniaceae
Date: 19th April 2015
Place: Chamarajanagar, Karnataka

Habit: Shrub
Habitat: Deciduous forest



It is my pleasure to share few images of Pterolobium hexapetalum (Fabaceae)
Habit: Scandent, thorny shrub
Habitat: Wild, Deciduous forest. .
Sighting: Chikmagalur, Karnataka about 1000 msl.
Date: 18-05-2014, 03-08-2014, 08-06-2015 and 18-09-2015

MS/ID/JULY/ 2020/2 -ID of a tree : 6 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (6)
Kindly ID the tree photographed in a reserved forest area inside the city of Chennai.

For me now it looks like Pterolobium hexapetalum. Further comments are welcome.

I guess it is correct !

It was wrongly reported by the sender of the photograph as tree. It is a spiny shrub (recurved spines).

Pterolobium hexapetalum. Looks pretty attractive flowers: Any local name?

Please check the link for common names.:


Fabaceae: Pterolobium hexapetalum (Roth) Santapau & Wagh: 1 high res. image.
synonyms: Pterolobium lacerans (Roxb.) Wight & Arn., Pterolobium lacerans Wall., Pterolobium indicum A.Rich.
location/date: University of Agricultural Sciences campus, Bangalore, July 1997


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