Images by Shrikant Ingalhalikar 





Caesalpinia for ID:  Small deciduous tree, 3-5 m tall, erect; bark light coloured. Leaves 2 pinnate, 30–40 cm; pinnae 3-5 pairs, 15-20 cm; leaflets opposite, elliptic, sessile, 3 cm, acute, pubescent. Flowers fragrant, 1 cm, in terminal racemes 10-15 cm; calyx lobes 5, fimbriate, lower lobe elongate, boat shaped, reddish, segmented on margin. Petals 5, clawed.Pods flat, 10 cm, reddish brown.

Found few trees together flowering, planted; in an experimental reserved forest near Pune.

It may be Caesalpinia spinosa.

thank you for the lead. The plant matches in respect of lower calyx lobe but it lacks the red spots on the upper petal and it has no spines at all. Is there anything close to C. spinosa?

I have confirmed that this is C. spinosa, a tree originating from Peru and known as ‘Tara’ tree.



Fabaceae-Caesalpinioideae (Caesalpiniaceae) Caesalpinia spinosa:

The fog harvester tree

A few years back, on the occasion of World Environment Day Alan Garcia, the president of Peru announced (to fight the global climate change) a national reforestation campaign to plant 180 million trees in Peru. To promote this campaign, the agricultural ministry of Peru announced a novel event of breaking the world record of tree-planting on the World Environment Day itself. The appeal encouraged volunteers from segments like students, army, police and citizens to participate in this mega event.

In Tuman district on the north coast of Peru, thousands of pits were made in the degraded area. Crates of tree-saplings were kept ready near the pits. The event was flagged off at 10.15 am on June 5, 2010 and 8,000 participants took up the race of tree-planting simultaneously. The spirited teams broke the previous record of planting 26,422 trees in an hour set up by Ireland in 2009. Peruvians finished with 27,166 trees and in just 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Interestingly other previous records were in Mexico (242 trees/min.) in 2008 and in India (176 trees/min.) in 2005. This is how people of Peru triumphed against the global climate change, what an effort! The jubilant plantation will serve as an education center for students and industries.

The tree species used for this record plantation was the Tara tree (Caesalpinia spinosa), the fond native of Peru. It is a small deciduous tree with yellow, attractive looking fragrant flowers. It does not have spines as the name suggests. The pods and the seeds are also colourful. Tara tree grows in the valleys of Andes. Surprisingly forest surrounding Pune has about 50 Tara trees.

Lima district in Peru is in the high mountains yet is devoid of water. It receives barely 1.5 cm of rain annually. The Andean glaciers which used to be the perennial source of water for Lima are drying out fast. The hardy residents of Lima traditionally know of an innovative source of little water to quench their thirst. A lot of fog rolls up the mountains in Lima from the South Pacific Ocean year round. The Tara tree of Peru not only survives in the arid habitats of Lima but is known to absorb water from the fog. Droplets of water are formed on the Tara leaves and the water drips down to the ground. In some fog harvesting farms large funnels are placed below Tara trees to replenish the ground water. Amazingly it provides a source of drinking water in the periods of scarcity. The fog harvesting forests of Tara trees can suffice the water requirements of the denizens of Lima in future. Well, fog harvesting is only the most vital use of Tara trees. They have several economic uses. An extract produced from the pods of Tara is known as ‘Tara Powder’. It is used in leather tanning, food products, medicines, breweries and cosmetics.

ID credit to …

Thanks … for sharing the interesting and useful info on Tara tree. Can we see this tree in any part of Southern India.

These pictures taken on 25 April 2007 were again pending for ID. These were photographed on Pachgaon Parvati. same area. I should have shown these to … earlier. I was believing this as Pterocarpum marsupium
On observing … mail about TARA TREE I conclude this being Caesalpinia spinosa.
Please validate.



Tree for ID : 20 posts by 9 authors. Attachments (1)
Posting a small tree for ID. Location- reserved forest in Pune. 3-5 m tall. Bark light coloured. Leaves 2 pinnate, 20-30 cm long; pinnae 2-3 pairs, 15-20 cm long; leaflets opposite, sessile, elliptic, 3 cm, hairy. Pods 10-12 cm, flat, 1-2 cm wide. 

I hope some species of Senna

Not Senna or Cassia with bipinnately compound leaves.

Yes, I agree with Ken. Bipinnate leaves rules out Senna. Is it
Paraserianthes lophantha or P. falcataria?

the leaves are bipinnate  and the fruits shapes points towards some Albizzia species.

Neither “lophantha” nor “falcataria“.  I am unable to recognize this image under Albizia or closely allied genera, such as Paraserianthes and Falcataria.

This is a tree planted by forest dept (about 50 individuals) on one of the hills in Pune. The id of this tree intrigued me for a long time till I saw it flowering.
 … then identified it as Caesalpinia spinosa. The info available on net is very intetesting.
I have been producing saplings of this unique tree to gift to tree lovers. Saplings planted by me have grown tall enough to start flowering. Attachments (1)