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Products > Lonchocarpus sericeus
Lonchocarpus sericeus - Lancepod
Image of Lonchocarpus sericeus
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Fabaceae = Pea Family
Origin: South America
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Summer/Fall
Height: 25-40 feet
Width: 15-20 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Lonchocarpus sericeus (Lancepod) - An lush evergreen tree to 45 feet with a straight rounded trunk and a rounded crown of 8 inch long pinnate leaves with 7 to 11 leaflets that are 2 to 4 inches long. In late summer in semi-tropical climates this plant puts on a display of fragrant dark pink pea flowers followed by legume pods that are constricted between the seeds. Plant in full sun and irrigated occasionally to infrequently. Not hardy to hard frosts but tolerates occasional short durations temperatures below freezing. This tree grows naturally from Chiapas in southern Mexico through Central American and tropical South America, the Caribbean, and West Tropical Africa, though it is not clear whether this old world distribution not from early introduced plants. The genus name comes from the Greek words 'lonche', meaning "a lance" and 'karpos' meaning 'fruit' in reference to their fruit resembling an ornate lance tip and for this reason the trees in the genus are often called lancepods. The specific epithet is the Latin word for "silky", referring to the fine hairs on the flowers. Where it flowers (rarely in California gardens) it has slightly fuzzy pink pea flowers in dense axillary panicles which is followed by woody brown legume fruit that is constricted between the seeds. This species has been grown in Florida as an ornamental tree but rarely seen in California where it seems to grows well vegetatively in near frost free areas, but rarely (if ever) flowers. It is noted to be very similar to Millettia grandis. Our plants taken as root suckers from the large attractive tree growing off the southwest corner of Web Hall (Geology Building) on the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara.  This information about Lonchocarpus sericeus displayed is based on research conducted in our library and from reliable online resources. We will also note observations that we have made about it as it grows in the gardens in our nursery and those elsewhere, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others, and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.