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Jack and the Pea Stalk. The largest legume on earth. Koompassia excelsa

master pollinator
Posts: 8693
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I am seeking land in the Philippines, where I will produce tree crops and regenerate some rainforest. So, very excited about this one.
The Koompassia excelsa tree is the largest member of the Pea family and amongst the largest tropical trees.

 It is the largest nitrogen producer on Earth. They can go to 275 ft tall with a lower buttresses spread of 30 ft diameter. 200 ft is typical.  Absolute monsters that tower over the rest of the rainforest, with a huge spreading crown, in Borneo, Sumatra, the Philippines and all over South East Asia.

When they do a fly over, and there's a huge emergent with silver white bark, that looks dead, it's this tree, in the dry season.

 I couldn't find information on growth rate, but with most of the other pea family trees from the same region, they can be 50 ft tall at 3 years. This is the biggest of them all.

 It's one of the few trees that they leave behind when they clear a tropical rainforest. It has dense hard wood, but it rots fast and there's a huge amount of taper to the trunk, because of the huge buttresses. So it's a very dangerous tree to drop. And it has more value as food to the local people because the seeds are edible and abundant.

 It's the tree of choice for giant honey bees. The silvery bark is very slippery so that honey bears and other critters can't climb up to steal the honey. YouTube shows people climbing for the honey... I bought awesome honey from a very muscular little man. Honeycomb and wax included. Nova pointed him out and said he's a honey climber. But she didn't elaborate.  He said "I climb up the tall white tree".  Holy shit. He deserves every peso.
A big problem when reforesting, is usually that the primary crop trees like teak or purple heart and others, shade out the primary nitrogen producers, too soon, which ultimately means that growth becomes much slower. These huge emergents that sit well above the canopy, can't be shaded out.

The massive crown sheds the leaves during drought. Tons of leaf drop. Smaller cousins drop 500 lb of nitrogen per acre. Plus massive biomass that livestock can eat.

People eat the seeds raw. Most pea family trees have cyanide in the seeds.

I have to have some of these. If the growth rate is similar to some of the other tropical pea relatives, in 10 years there could be something 100 feet tall.

In 30 years, I will be 85, and I can become a honey climber.  :-)
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