Samanea saman is now the preferred scientific name of Albizia saman. It is commonly known as the Rain Tree.
It is a perennial rain tree that comes from the family Fabaceae. It grows fine in USDA hardiness zones 10-12.
Rain Tree photograph by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.
This primarily deciduous tree is native to Central America and Northern South America. As it has a wide canopy it is often grown to bring shade to a location.
Samanea (Albizia) saman photograph by Forest and Kim Starr.
The rain tree can survive in a variety of warmer environments including dry lowland grassland, coastal bushland, dry deciduous and semi-deciduous forest, and in evergreen and tropical environments.
Samanea saman is a dome-shaped, spreading tree that provides shade for crops and other plant life beneath it. It is also often planted in parks for its shade.
The timber produced by the tree is soft and fairly strong making it useful for furniture, boat building, and construction.
Various parts of the tree can be used for food and medicine, such as the pods for food, the leaves for a laxative, and the fruit as a sedative.
Rain Tree trunk photograph by Dinesh Valke; CC.
Albizia saman / Samanea saman is a moderately easy plant to grow.
Be aware that this tree is considered somewhat invasive in some regions because the seed is easily dispersed by livestock. So, check your local growing regulations before planting Rain Tree.
It grows best in partially shady to full sunlight conditions.
Loamy soil is best, but it will grow in sandy and even clay soil types.
Ideally the soil should be well-draining, but it will tolerate waterlogged soil as well. The rain tree is very versatile in warm areas and can survive in arid climates and in the tropics.
It is a prolific and fast-growing tree. It usually grows to about 30 meters (100 feet) in height.
The canopy starts low and can grow to be 30 meters (100 feet) wide. Enjoy the shade from the leafy canopy year after year.
Albizia saman flower photograph by Jan Smith; CC.