Origin: native from India to New Guinea and Philippines. Introduced beyond in southern Asia and Pacific Island
Common name: Banitlog, Hierba de Soldado
Here is a description from Common Trees of Hawaii:
This is a small tree that reaches 50ft (15m) tall. Leaves alternate, with long slender stalk 2 3/4 – 4 inches (7-10cm) long. Blades broadly ovate, large … abruptly long-pointed, heart-shaped at base, finely sawtoothed, thin, soft hairy, dull green above and gray green beneath.
It was introduced in Hawaii in 1925 because it is quick growing and as shade for young forest trees and coffee. It is now considered an invasive weed there.
According to Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) the calyx (sepals) ranges from yellowish green to pinkish brown and the petals from pale pink to red, rarely yellow or orange-tinged, pale blue, purple, or violet.
Common Name: Ipil-Ipil
Origin: introduced during the Spanish times as feed for livestock
According to the Stuartxchange website, in the early 1970’s and early 80s this tree was known as the “miracle tree” because it is long-lived and highly nutritious as forage for animals. It is also one of the fastest growing leguminous trees. It also says that it was used in reforestation.
It is now considered an invasive weed.
From Global Invasive Species Database:
The fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing tree/shrub Leucaena leucocephala, is cultivated as a fodder plant, for green manure, as a windbreak, for reforestation, as a biofuel crop etc. Leucaena has been widely introduced due to its beneficial qualities; it has become an aggressive invader in disturbed areas in many tropical and sub-tropical locations and is listed as one of the ‘100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species’. This thornless tree can form dense monospecific thickets and is difficult to eradicate once established. It renders extensive areas unusable and inaccessible and threatens native plants.
I only noticed the presence of Ipil-Ipil in our place this year when I saw many seedlings coming up at the site where I’ve been clearing hagonoy weeds. Then I started noticing seedlings coming up in other areas, as well as several trees in flower. We will be removing as many of the trees and seedlings as possible.
This is the cutest weed I’ve ever seen! It is a vine with dark pink tendrils. Inside each puffy ball are two seeds. The ripe seeds are black with white hearts! I didn’t get to inspect the dried up balls with the ripe seeds. Something to look at next time I’m at the farm!
aka Heart Pea, Balloon Vine, Parol-parolan, Matang Kengkoy
It is an introduced plant and is found throughout the Philippines.
It has small white flowers.
When I was taking pictures of the plant, Tara walked up to me and ate the hagonoy that was holding the weed up. No, Tara! It’s the cutest weed ever.
And, you probably shouldn’t be the hagonoy either. It’s toxic!
Update: Some friends have fond recollections of playing with this weed when they were kids! The puffs make a sound when popped. The black seeds were used for “sumpit” , a type of mouth blow gun.
2nd Update: Photos of the seeds.
This is the first time I saw the flowers of this tree that grows near the house! I’ve seen it fruit before, but never noticed the flowers.
I wrote about it 5 years ago in this post.