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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 10 | Fabaceae | Gleditsia

3. Gleditsia fera (Loureiro) Merrill, Philipp. J. Sci., C. 13: 141. 1918.

华南皂荚 hua nan zao jia

Mimosa fera Loureiro, Fl. Cochinch. 2: 652. 1790; Gleditsia formosana Hayata; G. thorelii Gagnepain.

Trees, 3-24 m tall. Branches grayish brown. Spines robust, branched, terete at base, to 13 cm. Leaves pinnate, 11-18 cm; rachis sulcate, glabrous or pilose; petiolules ca. 1 mm; leaflets 5-9 pairs, adaxially deep brown, shiny, obliquely elliptic to rhombic-oblong, 2-7(-12) × 1-3(-5) cm, papery to thinly leath­ery, abaxially glabrous, adaxially glabrous or sometimes pubes­cent on midvein, midvein inclined to one side at base of blade, reticulate veinlets crowded, slender, conspicuously raised, base obliquely cuneate or rounded and oblique, margin crenate, some­times shallowly, obtusely serrate, apex rounded and emarginate. Flowers several in cymules, polygamous, greenish white, cym­ules in axillary or terminal racemes 7-16 cm. Male flowers: 6-7 mm in diam.; receptacle ca. 2.5 mm; sepals 5, triangular-lan­ceolate, 2.5-3 mm, outside densely puberulent; petals 5, ob­long, both sides puberulent; stamens 10; rudimentary pistil linear-terete, 4-5 mm, villous. Bisexual flowers: 8-10 mm in diam.; calyx and petals similar to those of male flowers, but calyx with a villous ring inside at base; stamens 5 or 6; anthers acute at apex; ovary densely brownish yellow silky, many ovuled. Legume compressed, 13.5-26(-41) × 2.5-3(-6.5) cm, straight or slightly curved, occasionally twisted, valves leathery, densely brownish yellow puberulent when young, glabrescent and becoming deep brown to blackish brown when old, apex with beak 2-5 mm; stipe 5-10 mm. Seeds numerous, brown to blackish brown, compressed or lenticular, ovoid to oblong, 8-11(-14) × 5-6(-11) mm, smooth. Fl. Apr-May, fr. Jun-Dec.

● Gentle slopes, mountain valleys, forests, beside villages, near roads, sunny places, occasionally cultivated; 300-1000 m. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, ?Guizhou, ?Hainan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Taiwan, ?Yunnan.

The records of Gleditsia rolfei S. Vidal from Taiwan (Fl. Taiwan 3: 293. 1977; ed. 2, 3: 182. 1993) are referable to G. fera.

The fruit contains saponin that can be used as soap and as an insecticide.


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