Common Name Mother of Cocoa, Mexican Lilac
Botanical Name Gliricidia sepium
Local Name
Native/Non Native Non Native
Origin South Americia
Location at Holy Family Church Graveyard

(These photographs are authentic captures from the Holy Family Church campus, portraying the scenic splendour of the place.)

Spotted Gliricidia is a medium sized deciduous tree. This tree is pantropic, which means, even though it is non-native to India, it can grow well in a tropical country like ours.

It has compound leaves that grow on arch-like branches. The oblong, light green leaflets have black spots on the underside, hence the common name Spotted Gliricidia.

Clusters of pink pea shaped flowers appear on almost bare branches from January to April. The flowers appear from the axil of the leaf and are arranged in racemes. The flowering tree is a beautiful sight. The fruits are 10-12 cm long pods with flat seeds.

The scientific name Gliricidia is derived from the Spanish name 'Mata Raton' meaning mouse killer. 'Gliris' means mouse and 'caedo' means killer. The bark of the tree is powdered and mixed with rice/maize floor baits set up to kill rats. sepium means hedge, the tree is at times planted as a hedge.

In cocoa plantations it is grown as a shade tree, and also enriches the soil. Hence the name 'Madre de Cocoa'. Leaves make excellent green manure, and has earned the local name 'Gobbarada gidda' which means 'Compost tree'. Leaves are nutritious and fed to livestock and poultry to increase productivity.

Due to its quick growth, the tree is planted as an avenue tree and for ornamental purposes. The wood is durable and useful for posts and railway ties.

IMPORTANT: The information on this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference books. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Readers should always consult their physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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