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The Jamaican rain tree is a small drought-resistant tree that can grow around 20â€“30 feet tall and produces long, drooping branches. It has small, waxy 2-3 parted compound leaves that often appear to be simple. The leaves are densely borne in alternate formation on short spurs that are produced on the main stems.The bright yellow flowers develop on short indeterminate (racemose) inflorescences. They are typically (for the Faboideae subfamily) pea-like and hermaphroditic, with bilateral symmetry and (not so typically) heterostyly. The fruits are legumes, which are common for the Fabaceae family.
Prefers a position in full sun, though it can succeed in most settings apart from humid shade where it seldom flowers.
Plants are very tolerant of salt-laden winds.
Established plants are very drought tolerant.
As its common name suggests, the Jamaican rain tree is well known to come into bloom almost immediately after a rain event. This is may be an adaptation to produce seeds quickly when unpredictable rains occur. The flowers attract insect visitors such as bees. As in many Faboideae, the Jamaican rain tree has bacterial nodules in its roots, which fix atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form, allowing growth in poor soils.
Special features: B. ebenus is cultivated as an ornamental, for bonsai trees, and for its valuable wood.
Cocus wood is a very dense tropical hardwood with excellent musical tone quality, and was used for making flutes in England and France especially during the 19th century. It is still occasionally used for reeded wooden musical instruments such as bagpipes, clarinets and oboes.
Culinary use: None known
Ornamental use: B. ebenus is cultivated as an ornamental, for bonsai trees, and for its valuable wood.
Medicinal use: None known
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