Mundulea sericea (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Mundulea sericea (Willd.) A. Chev.

Family: Leguminosae - Papilionoideae


Cytisus sericeus Willd., Tephrosia suberosa DC.

Vernacular names

  • Malaysia: kattutuvaram, supti (Tamil).


Widespread in tropical Africa, India and Sri Lanka. Probably introduced into South-East Asia. Occasionally cultivated.


A mulch and green manure crop, also fish poison and insecticide containing rotenone in leaves, bark and seeds. The bark repels crocodiles in East Africa.


Robust, spreading shrub or small tree, 2-7 m tall. Bark corky, smooth to fissured; young branches velvety. Leaves pinnately compound; rachis velvety, up to 10 cm long including a petiole of 1-2 cm; leaflets in about 6 pairs, subopposite, rather leathery, ovate-oblong to lanceolate, up to 4 cm × 1.4 cm, apex rounded, with few, minute hairs or glabrous above. Inflorescence a velvety, axillary pseudoraceme, 5-13 cm long; flowers in pairs; pedicel 1-1.5 cm long; calyx up to 6 mm long; standard about 18 mm × 15 mm, dorsally hairy, claw curved, inrolled. Pod borne almost horizontally, linear, 5-9 cm long, tapering at the base, tip pointed, velvety, yellowish-brown, often constricted between the 4-9 seeds. Seed reniform, about 4 mm × 3 mm × 2 mm, dark green. M. sericea occurs in open sites in lowland evergreen forest, bushland and deciduous woodland, up to 2000 m altitude. It is propagated by seed, but more easily by cuttings.

Selected sources

52, 88, 96, 170.


M.S.M. Sosef & L.J.G. van der Maesen