Dendrolobium umbellatum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Dendrolobium umbellatum (L.) Benth.

Protologue: in Miquel, Pl. jungh.: 216 & 218 (1852).
Family: Leguminosae


  • Hedysarum umbellatum L. (1753),
  • Desmodium umbellatum (L.) DC. (1825).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: blanakan, balanak (Javanese), kanyere laut (Sundanese), gowou (Ternate), daun buaya (the Moluccas)
  • Malaysia: petai laut, petai belalang, dendulang, dedulang (Peninsular)
  • Philippines: kabay-kabay (Tagalog), huyat-bagio (Bisaya), matang-ureng (Bicol)
  • Papua New Guinea: urara (Barakau, Central Province)
  • Thailand: khamin naang, chamaep, thua rae thale (south-eastern)
  • Vietnam: ba ohẽ tán, thóc lép tán, tràng qủa tán


From East Africa, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, eastward to Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Indo-China, China, Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands, throughout Malesia, northern Australia and further east to the Pacific Islands.


In Papua New Guinea, the crushed leaves and shoots are used to massage an enlarged spleen caused by malaria. A decoction of the leaves is drunk locally as a general tonic. The solution is used to bathe the body to prevent a slight chill developing into a fever. In the Moluccas, the plant is considered astringent and the young leaves are an ingredient of a post-partum medicine used by women after childbirth. In Fiji, the leaves are used to treat scaly skin. In Taiwan, a decoction of the flowers is administered to treat gonorrhoea and irregular menstruation. In India the plant is used as a fodder, particularly favoured by horses. The young leaves are sometimes eaten as a vegetable or for seasoning. They are eaten raw in the Moluccas and Malaysia.


  • A shrub or small tree up to 3(-6) m tall, branches terete, lenticellate, glabrescent, young parts (4-)6-7-gonous.
  • Leaves 3-foliolate, petiole (1-)2-5(-6) cm long, stipules early caducous, leaflets elliptical to broadly ovate, base obtuse to acute, apex obtuse to acute, continuously appressed-sericeous when young, upper surface glabrescent, lower surface remaining covered with appressed fine hairs, terminal leaflet 5-14(-17) cm × (2.5-)3.5-7(-8.5) cm, lateral leaflets 3-11 cm × 1.5-6 cm.
  • Axillary inflorescence shortly peduncled or long racemose, 10-20-flowered, primary bracts 2-2.5 mm √ó 1-1.5 mm, early caducous; calyx 4-5 mm long, corolla white, standard obovate or elliptical, wings narrowly elliptical, keel petals much broader than the wings, androecium 8.5-10 mm long, gynoecium 14-15 mm long, ovary densely appressed-sericeous.
  • Pod sessile or slightly stalked, narrowly oblongoid, 3-5(-8)-jointed, rarely 1-seeded by abortion, glabrescent, both sutures not thickened, upper suture slightly undulate, lower suture undulate and constricted between the seeds, articles in outline broadly elliptical-oblong to oblong, (5-)7-8(-10) mm × 3.5-5 mm.

D. umbellatum is one of the most variable species of the genus. Two varieties are distinguished, in Malesia only var. umbellatum is found. D. umbellatum is found primarily in littoral habitats, but also in monsoon forest edges, river banks, savanna, secondary forest and rocky cliffs up to 180 m altitude.

Selected sources

7, 44, 67, 92. vegetables

47, 74,medicinals

  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1 (A-H) pp. 1-1240, Vol. 2 (I-Z) pp. 1241-2444.


  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1948-1976. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. 11 volumes. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India.407
  • Holdsworth, D.K., 1977. Medicinal plants of Papua New Guinea. Technical Paper No 175. South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 123 pp., 547, 749, 786, 958, 1038. medicinals


  • N.O. Aguilar