return to: checklist; keys; family Fabaceae sensu lato, subfamily Papilionoideae

Piscidia piscipula (L.) Sarg.; ja'abin

Tree; leaves alternate, once-pinnately compound, odd-pinnate; leaflets elliptic, base obtuse, margins entire and slightly revolute, apex rounded or notched; flower pea-like pale pink-purple, with reddish highlights and a green spot on the standard petal; fruits pale green to brown, 4-winged, with persistent calyx.

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The wood is hard, heavy, and highly resistant to decay. Standley (1930), citing Gaumer, describes a welter of medicinal uses based on extracts of the root bark; local anesthetic, analgesic, antispasmotic, anti-inebriate and sudorific properties have been cited. The tree is widely distributed in the Caribbean and Central America. In some of these regions, the plant is used as a fish poison, a use seldom realized in Yucatan given the dearth of permanent freshwater habitats supporting populations of fish. Listed as an important source of pollen and nectar for bees (Souza Novello 1981, Suarez Molina 1981).