Natural live edge timber slab from Samanea Saman rain tree
Samanea saman is a medium-sized or large tree of potentially great size, often reaching 25-30 m tall, occasionally 45 m, with a short stout bole to 2-3 m dbh and a wide, low, spreading crown, often twice as wide as the tree is high. It is a stately tree, with heavy, nearly horizontal branches and an umbrella-shaped crown. One notable old S. saman tree near Government House in Trinidad was recorded to shade approximately a hectare, and reach 50 m in height, a stem 2.6 m in diameter, with a crown diameter of 60 m (Allen and Allen, 1981; Raintree, 1987). The bark is grey-brown, rough and furrowed into ridges. A full botanical description is provided by Barneby and Grimes (1996). Leaves are large, 6-25 mm long x 3-8 cm wide, bipinnate, with 3-6 pairs of pinnae per leaf, 6-9 pairs of leaflets per pinna and large leaflets, 24-62 mm long x 10-25 mm wide. Leaflets are unequal in size, becoming larger towards the distal end of the pinnae. The new growth and leaf rachis are covered in short, velvety, tawny pubescence. The leaflets are rhombic-oblong or elliptic in shape, unequal at the base, dark olive-green, glabrous and slightly glossy above, dull grey-green and hairy below. The flowers are arranged in loose umbelliform heads, which develop in groups of 2-5 in the axils of leaves on actively growing shoots. The terminal or central flower on each head is sessile and enlarged compared to the peripheral flowers. The exposed and conspicuous stamen filaments are bright or pale pink and showy. The fruits are broadly linear, compressed pods, 10-22 cm long x 1.5-2.2 cm wide x 0.5-1 cm thick. They are green and fleshy when unripe, and turn dark blackish-brown when ripe. The thick mesocarp is filled with dry pitch-like, sweet, nutritious pulp. The pods are indehiscent and contain 5-10 mature seeds, 8-11.5 mm long x 5-7.5 mm wide.