Species Guide: Rare Fruit Trees


Tree crown of Parkia speciosa. One can recognise the tree by identifying the strong odour of its fruits. Photo by Goh Shang Ming

Common name: Stink Bean

Malay name: Petai, Nyiring

Scientific name: Parkia speciosa

Conservation status: Least Concern, Cultivated, Native to Malaysia


This tree is 15-45 m tall. Leaves are alternately arranged and branched into smaller leaflets. Flowers are compacted into pear-shaped cluster known as head. Fruits are long, straight or twisted pods that contain up to 18 seeds each. The seed pods are initially pale green and eventually turn blackish. Both flowers and fruits emit a foul odour.

Habit: Perennial tree

Cultivation: It is planted by seeds, buddings or cuttings

Ecological function: The flowers of this tree attract pollinators. Its fruits are food source for animals like birds. It improves nutrients availability in soil by fixing atmospheric nitrogen. It is a shade-providing species that is suitable for agroforestry system.

Pollinator: Bats

Soil: Loam, clay, organic soils

Moisture: Well-drained soils

Shade: Partial shade. It needs increasing light level as it matures

Use: The seeds are edible.

By ShangMing

A plant lover. I like small, medium, gigantic, ordinary, exotic, local, foreign plants. Just because they thrive to stand out.