Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Falcataria moluccana
(batai wood)



Falcataria moluccana (batai wood)


  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Falcataria moluccana
  • Preferred Common Name
  • batai wood
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Native to parts of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, F. moluccana has been widely introduced throughout the tropics as a very fast growing plantation tree (7 m in the first year), for shade and also as an ornamen...

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A mature stand near the Kepong- Damansara road, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
TitleNatural stand
CaptionA mature stand near the Kepong- Damansara road, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
CopyrightLai Hoe Ang
A mature stand near the Kepong- Damansara road, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Natural standA mature stand near the Kepong- Damansara road, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Lai Hoe Ang
9-year-old stand.
Caption9-year-old stand.
CopyrightSomyos Kijkar
9-year-old stand.
Plantation9-year-old stand.Somyos Kijkar
Stand of naturally regenerated, 10-year-old Falcataria moluccana.  Moluccas Islands, 1996.
TitleTree stand
CaptionStand of naturally regenerated, 10-year-old Falcataria moluccana. Moluccas Islands, 1996.
CopyrightS. Tahir Qadri
Stand of naturally regenerated, 10-year-old Falcataria moluccana.  Moluccas Islands, 1996.
Tree standStand of naturally regenerated, 10-year-old Falcataria moluccana. Moluccas Islands, 1996.S. Tahir Qadri
TitleSeedlings of superior clones
CopyrightSomyos Kijkar
Seedlings of superior clonesSomyos Kijkar
Lower trunk and bark of naturally regenerated, 10-year-old Falcataria moluccana.  Moluccas Islands, 1996.
TitleLower trunk and bark
CaptionLower trunk and bark of naturally regenerated, 10-year-old Falcataria moluccana. Moluccas Islands, 1996.
CopyrightS. Tahir Qadri
Lower trunk and bark of naturally regenerated, 10-year-old Falcataria moluccana.  Moluccas Islands, 1996.
Lower trunk and barkLower trunk and bark of naturally regenerated, 10-year-old Falcataria moluccana. Moluccas Islands, 1996.S. Tahir Qadri
1. tree habit
2. flowering twig with part of leaf
3. flower
4. pod
TitleLine artwork
Caption1. tree habit 2. flowering twig with part of leaf 3. flower 4. pod
CopyrightPROSEA Foundation
1. tree habit
2. flowering twig with part of leaf
3. flower
4. pod
Line artwork1. tree habit 2. flowering twig with part of leaf 3. flower 4. podPROSEA Foundation


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Falcataria moluccana (Miq.) Barneby & J. W. Grimes

Preferred Common Name

  • batai wood

Other Scientific Names

  • Adenanthera falcata L.
  • Adenanthera falcatoria L.
  • Albizia eymae Fosberg
  • Albizia falcata (L.) Backer
  • Albizia falcata auct.
  • Albizia falcataria (L.) Fosberg
  • Albizia falcatoria (L.) Fosberg
  • Albizia fulva Lane-Poole
  • Albizia moluccana Miq.
  • Paraserianthes falcataria (L.) I. C. Nielsen
  • Paraserianthes falcatoria (L.) I. C. Nielsen

International Common Names

  • English: Molucca albizzia; peacock's plume; sau

Local Common Names

  • Bangladesh: koroi; malacarma
  • Brunei Darussalam: puah
  • Cook Islands: 'arapitia
  • Cuba: albizia
  • Indonesia: albesia-wood; belalu; jeungjing; mara; parasiante; sengon
  • Indonesia/Java: sengon laut; sika
  • Malaysia: batai; bataiwood; kayu machis; Molucca albizia; Moluccan sau
  • Malaysia/Sarawak: kayu macis
  • Palau: ukall ra ngebard
  • Papua New Guinea: white albizia
  • Philippines: falcate; Mollucan sau
  • Samoa: tamaligi; tamaligi pa'epa'e; tamaligi palagi
  • USA/Hawaii: peacock's plume

EPPO code

  • ALBFA (Albizia falcataria)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Native to parts of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, F. moluccana has been widely introduced throughout the tropics as a very fast growing plantation tree (7 m in the first year), for shade and also as an ornamental. Still widely cultivated and exploited, it has escaped and become invasive especially in natural lowland humid forests on Pacific and also Indian Ocean islands, where it alters ecosystem function through nitrogen fixation and eliminates native species. This tendency could also occur in other countries where it is present but not yet widespread, such as tropical America and Africa, and the dangers of possible invasion should be highlighted prior to making any further introductions.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Mimosoideae
  •                                 Genus: Falcataria
  •                                     Species: Falcataria moluccana

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Falcataria moluccana has undergone considerable changing in its nomenclature over the years, previously placed in the genus Paraserianthes. It has two or three subspecies, subsp. falcataria (L.) I.C.Nielsen and subsp. fulva (Lane-Poole) I.C.Nielsen (ILDIS, 2009), and subsp. solomonensis has also been described for the Solomon Islands (Nielsen et al., 1983). The species name ‘falcata’ comes from the sickle-shaped pods. It should not be mistaken with Aleurites moluccanus, sometimes incorrectly known as A. moluccana, which is a different distinct species.


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F. moluccana is a medium to fairly large-sized tree up to 40 m high with a small buttress. The bole is branchless up to 20 m and up to 100 cm or more in girth and in dense stands is generally straight and cylindrical. When grown in the open, trees form a large canopy, which is umbrella shaped. In plantations of 1000-2000 trees per ha the crowns become narrow. The bark is light grey with warts, inner bark smooth and pink though young parts may be densely reddish brown tomentose or puberulent. Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound and 20-40 cm long with 4-(10-12)-15 pairs of pinnae, each pinnae 5-10 cm long containing 8-(15-20)-25 falcate leaflets 10-20 mm long and 3-6 mm wide, pubescent, dull green above, paler below, obliquely elliptic, falcate, midrib strongly excentric near one of the margins. Leaves each have a large nectary below the lowermost pair of pinnae and smaller ones between or below most pairs of pinnae. Flowers are large, branched, bell-shaped, in paniculate axillary racemes ca 20 cm in diameter, often with 2 serial branches from 1 bract scar; calyx 1-1.5 mm long, silky pubescent, the teeth 0.5 mm long. The flowers are bisexual, regular and 5-merous. The corolla is creamy-white to greenish-white and sericeous 3-4.5 mm long (excl. stamens); stamens 10-17 mm long, numerous and extend beyond the corolla. Pods are narrow and flat, densely pubescent or glabrous, green turning brown and splitting on maturity, 10-13 cm long and 1.5-2.5 cm wide, winged along ventral suture with many (ca. 20) transversely arranged, ellipsoid, flat dark brown seeds, 5-7 mm long, 2.5-3.5 mm wide.

Plant Type

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Seed propagated


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It is native only to parts of Indonesia (Moluccas and Irian Jaya), Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands according to USDA-ARS (2009), whereas ILDIS (2009) give a wider native range, also encompassing Java and Sumatra (Indonesia), Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia (Malaysia) and Bougainville island (Papua New Guinea), and note it of uncertain nativity in the Solomon Islands and the Bismarck Archipelago (Papua New Guinea). The larger native range is accepted in this datasheet.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Planted Reference Notes


AngolaPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
CameroonPresentPlantedCABI (2005)
Côte d'IvoirePresentPlantedCABI (2005)
Guinea-BissauPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
KenyaPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
MadagascarPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
MalawiPresentPlantedCABI (2005)
MauritiusPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
MozambiquePresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
NigeriaPresentIntroducedPlantedILDIS (2009)
RéunionPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
São Tomé and PríncipePresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
SeychellesPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014); ILDIS (2009)
UgandaPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)


BangladeshPresentPlantedCABI (2005)
ChinaPresent, LocalizedIntroducedILDIS (2009)
-FujianPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
IndiaPresentIntroducedPlantedILDIS (2009)
-AssamPresentIntroducedAgnihothrudu (1962)
-KeralaPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
-West BengalPresentIntroducedILDIS (2009)
IndonesiaPresentCABI (Undated a); CABI (2005)Present based on regional distribution.
-Irian JayaPresentNativeILDIS (2009)
-JavaPresentNativePlantedILDIS (2009)
-Maluku IslandsPresentNativeILDIS (2009)
-SumatraPresentNativeILDIS (2009)
MalaysiaPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentNativePlantedILDIS (2009)
-SabahPresentNativePlantedILDIS (2009)
-SarawakPresentPlantedCABI (2005)
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedPlantedILDIS (2009)
SingaporePresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014); ILDIS (2009)
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedPlantedILDIS (2009)

North America

CubaPresentIntroducedInvasiveOviedo Prieto et al. (2012); Toral and Simón (2001)
MexicoPresentPlantedCABI (2005)
United StatesPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014); USDA-NRCS (2009)


American SamoaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014)
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014)
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014); ILDIS (2009)
FijiPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014); ILDIS (2009)
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014)
GuamPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014)
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014)
NiuePresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014); ILDIS (2009); CABI (Undated)
PalauPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014)
Papua New GuineaPresentNativeILDIS (2009); PIER (2014)Native to the mainland, Bougainville and the Bismark Archipelago
SamoaPresentIntroducedInvasivePlantedPIER (2014)
Solomon IslandsPresentNativePIER (2014); ILDIS (2009)
Timor-LestePresentIntroducedLança and Parreira (2004)
TongaPresentIntroducedPIER (2014)
Wallis and FutunaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014)

South America

ChilePresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-Easter IslandPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2014)
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedUSA, Missouri Botanical Garden (2009)

History of Introduction and Spread

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In the humid tropics there has been widespread planting of F. moluccana for fuelwood and charcoal, for alley farming and intercropping in forest plantations, and as an ornamental tree. It was introduced into Hawai‘i in 1917 by Joseph Rock from North Borneo and Java as an ornamental and for reforestation (Little and Skolmen, 1989; Wagner et al., 1999), with 138,000 trees were planted for reforestation between 1910 and 1960 (Skolmen, 1960) including aerial sowing of seeds (Smith, 1998) and has since naturalized (Motooka et al., 2003). In French Polynesia, 3300 ha of F. moluccana and Casuarina equisetifolia were planted by the Forest Service between 1960 and 1970 on almost all high islands, to reforest areas subject to soil erosion or which had been destroyed by bushfires, and F. moluccana was also used as a windbreak and shade tree in coffee plantations, but quickly naturalized and became invasive in natural forests (Meyer, 2007). It is likely to be present in more countries than included in the distribution table, especially in tropical Africa and the Americas.

Risk of Introduction

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It was rated with a ‘high’ score of 8 in a risk assessment for the Pacific (PIER, 2014), and it was included in a decree in French Polynesia in 2006 as one of 35 invasive plants declared to be ‘species that threaten biodiversity’, subject to a ban on new imports, propagation and planting, and prohibition of transfer from one island to another of any whole plant, fragment of plant, cutting, fruit or seed (Meyer, 2007). Being valued as a shade tree, for plantation forestry and as an ornamental, it is likely to be further introduced and could prove to be a risk in many other tropical countries where it is not yet recorded as present, especially in tropical America and Africa.


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F. moluccana grows from sea level to 1500 m elevation but is most common in mesic, lowland areas. It is most commonly found in national secondary forests, the primary deciduous forests and mountain forests, but it also found in planted forests, disturbed areas, and river flood terraces. The abundance of growth of wildings in the forest only occurs when the soil is cleared from the undergrowth and the canopy opened (Soerianegara and Lemmens, 1993). In Hawaii, it has established naturally in abandoned sugarcane fields as well as in the forest wherever there are seed trees (Little and Skolmen, 1989), and it is also spreading on pasture land (Starr et al., 2003).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Principal habitat Natural
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Reproductive Biology
F. moluccana is a strongly light demanding species which regenerates naturally when the soil is exposed to sunlight and naturally colonizes forest clearings. F. moluccana produces abundant seeds (Little and Skolmen, 1989).
Physiology and Phenology
F. moluccana flowers twice a year in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, with mature fruits appearing two months later. F. moluccana is a nitrogen-fixing species, and coppices when cut.
It has been shown that the growth of young trees is promoted by the inoculation of mycorrhizal fungi Gigaspora margarita and Glomus fasciculatum in combination with Rhizobium in phosphorus deficient soils (Soerianegara and Lemmens, 1993).
Environmental Requirements
F. moluccana is adapted to humid to monsoon climates. It grows from sea level up to 2300 m above sea level with an annual rainfall of 2000-4000 mm, a temperature of 22°C to 34°C and a dry season of less than two months. The optimal temperature range is 22°C to 29 °C with a minimum of 22°C to 24°C and maximum of 30°C to 34°C (Nitrogen Fixing Tree Association, 1989; Soerianegara and Lemmens, 1993). A modified description of climatic requirements (see climatic data table of this data sheet) was prepared by CSIRO (Booth and Jovanovic, 2000). 

F. moluccana thrives on comparatively poor soils as long as they are well drained and survival is poor on seasonally waterlogged sites (Hocking and Islam, 1995). It also grows on both acidic and alkaline soils although it does better on alkaline soils (Ruskin, 1983). The most important indicator of site quality for F. moluccana is the depth of top soil, and it grows best with 19-26 cm of well drained topsoil with 3-8 % organic matter and exchangeable potassium of 0.36 meq/100 g soil (Nitrogen Fixing Tree Association, 1989).


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Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30 10 0 2300

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 22 29
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 30 34
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 20 24


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration02number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall20004000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Seedlings in nurseries are prone to damping-off caused by the fungi Sclerotium, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Phytophthora and Pythium. Leaf-eating caterpillars and aphids are also occasional problems to seedlings and trees in plantations. Other fungal diseases include pink canker caused by Corticium salmonicolor and red root caused by Ganoderma pseudoferreum. The stem borer Xystrocera festiva (longicorn beetle) and red borer Zeuzera coffea (cossid moth) are amongst the pests found in plantations in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines (Natawiria, 1973). Pellicularia salmonicolor and P. filamentosa were found to be parasitic on F. moluccana in Assam, India (Agnihothrudu, 1962). See the Natural Enemies table for a complete list of pests recorded on F. moluccana.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
F. moluccana spreads from abundant seeds contained in lightweight pods that blow in the wind (Little and Skolmen, 1989).
Intentional Introduction

F. moluccana was originally dispersed long distances intentionally for forestry, landscaping or other purposes, before spreading to nearby forests, pastures, and open areas.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop production Yes Yes
Disturbance Yes
Escape from confinement or garden escape Yes
Forestry Yes Yes
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes

Impact Summary

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Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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The high, broad canopy shades out other plants, and as a nitrogen fixing species, it may stimulate the growth of non-native plants better able to respond to increased soil nitrogen (Motooka et al., 2003).
In Hawaii, it was found that F. moluccana leaf litter created an invertebrate community that differs greatly from that found in leaf litter from the native tree Metrosideros polymorpha, increasing the abundance of non-native fragmenters (Amphipoda and Isopoda) by 400% and increasing non-native predaceous ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) by 200%, thus altering the litter-based food chain (Tuttle et al., 2009). The same also found that this invasive nitrogen-fixing tree species had a greater influence on litter invertebrate community abundance and composition than predation by the invasive terrestrial frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui.
In wet lowland forests of Hawaii, compositional changes following invasion of F. moluccana were due both to increases in alien species, particularly Psidium cattleianum, and decreases in native species, particularly Metrosideros polymorpha (Hughes and Denslow, 2005). Results provided a clear example of how invasive tree species, by modifying the function and structure of the ecosystems that they invade, can facilitate invasion by additional alien species and eliminate dominant native species. Given the rarity and limited extent of remaining native-dominated wet lowland forests in Hawaii, and the degree to which invasion of F. moluccana alters them, we expect that the continued existence of these unique ecosystems will be determined, in large part, by the spread of this invasive species.
Also in Hawaii, it was found that fungal:bacterial ratios declined dramatically with invasion of F. moluccana suggesting that invasion alters the composition and function of belowground soil communities in addition to forest structure and biogeochemistry, with a shift toward phosphorus limitation and rapid microbial processing of litterfall C and N following invasion (Allison et al., 2006).

On the very nutrient-poor soils of the granitic Seychelles, some pioneer invasive species produce more decomposable litter and therefore have the potential to alter rates of nutrient cycling. However, the small differences in soil fertility beneath native tree and the invasive F. moluccana and Cinnamomum verum suggest that impacts of these invasive species on nutrient cycling are more complex and less predictable in nutrient-poor ecosystems, where several nutrients may be co-limiting, and native and alien species coexist (Keuffer et al., 2008).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Metrosideros polymorphaNo detailsHawaiiHughes and Denslow, 2005

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control


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Economic Value

F. moluccana is one of the fastest growing multipurpose tree species, and coupled with other positive attributes, it is a suitable species for plantation programmes and agroforestry in the humid tropics. It has many uses but it is commonly planted as an ornamental and shade tree. Other uses of the species include alley farming, intercropping in forest plantations and reforestation.
The wood is soft, but not durable. The heartwood is pale yellow brown with a pink tinge and the sapwood is white. The wood is lightweight, coarse-textured, and essentially unfigured with a strength equivalent to Ponderosa pine and machines well (Little and Skolmen, 1989). Easy to work, it is also suitable for pulping, paper and matchsticks, besides being used for general utility purposes such as lightweight packing materials, lightweight construction, panelling, cabinets and furniture. As the wood is rather easy to cut, it is also suitable for making toys, wooden shoes, musical instruments and general turnery. The wood is also an important source of lightweight veneer and plywood and is suitable for the production of low and medium density particleboard, hardboard, wood wool board and blockboard. Due to the excellent pulping characteristics of the wood, it is widely used to supply pulp for the manufacturing of paper (Peh and Khoo, 1984). The pale coloured wood only requires minimum bleaching to obtain high quality white paper. In some countries, this species is an important source of firewood, and in Hawaii has been used for making canoes (Starr et al., 2003).
F. moluccana can reach 7 m in height in 1 year, 15 m in 3 years and 30 m in 10 years. Volume wood yields are on average 39 cubic metres/ha/year on a 10-year rotation, and may reach 50 cubic metres/ha/year on better soils. Timber production stands can be thinned at age 4-5 years to a density of 250 stems/ha and after 10 years to 150 stems/ha.

Pruning is required as there is a tendency for stems to fork. Trees grown for timber have a harvest cycle of 12-15 years while for pulp production the cutting cycle is approximately 8 years. In agroforestry systems with annual crops in the first year and grazing animals in subsequent years, the cutting cycle for F. moluccana is 10-15 years (Soerianegara and Lemmens, 1993).
The leaves of F. moluccana are used as feed for chicken and goats, and as a green manure. The bark yields ‘kino’ which has tanning properties and is also sometimes used as soap. The pods are also used as a substitute for Parkia speciosa and are edible (Soerianegara and Lemmens, 1993).
The presence of F. moluccana in a mixture with eucalypts gives a better growth increment in girth, height and biomass than pure stands of eucalyptus (Schubert, 1985). When managed as hedges, this species is able to produce 2-3 dry tonnes of green leaf manure/ha/year. Because of its fast growth, claimed to be the fastest growing species ever, F. moluccana is often used in reforestation and afforestation of denuded lands, for firewood and charcoal production, and as an ornamental tree. Pure stands can give good protective cover in preventing erosion on slopes. The ability to coppice fairly well makes it suitable for pulpwood production. F. moluccana is also commonly used in agroforestry systems throughout its range.
Environmental Services

The narrow crown of F. moluccana provides partial shade to tea, cacao and coffee. However, the importance of this species as a shade tree for these crops is rather limited, as solitary trees are prone to wind damage. When planted in rows they are also suitable as a windbreak for bananas (NFTA, 1989), but F. moluccana is easily damaged by wind and is therefore not suitable to be planted in areas prone to strong winds, and it also not suitable for steep slopes (Ruskin, 1983).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed


  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity
  • Land reclamation
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Soil improvement
  • Windbreak


  • Charcoal
  • Fuelwood


  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Seeds


  • Bark products
  • Green manure
  • Tanstuffs
  • Wood/timber

Wood Products

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  • Crates
  • Pallets



  • Long-fibre pulp

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • For light construction


Wood wool

Wood-based materials

  • Composite boards
  • Fibreboard
  • Gypsum board
  • Hardboard
  • Laminated veneer lumber
  • Laminated wood
  • Medium density fibreboard
  • Particleboard
  • Plywood
  • Wood cement


  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Matches
  • Musical instruments
  • Toys
  • Turnery
  • Wood carvings

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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A related species that was widely planted in Hawaii from 1910-1960 is Paraserianthes lophantha subsp. montana, and other species planted in lesser numbers include Albizia acle, A. caribaea, A. chinensis, A. katangensis, A. lebbekoides, A. procera, A. saponaria, and A. zygia (Skolmen, 1960). P. lophantha has also naturalised in Hawaii (Oppenheimer and Bartlett, 2002) and is also invasive in New Zealand (Haley, 1997).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Cultural control and sanitary measures
F. moluccana was not browsed in trials in Cuba, and thus use of livestock for control is not an option (Toral and Simón, 2001).
Physical/mechanical control
Seedlings can be hand pulled, and larger F. moluccana trees are also reportedly susceptible to being killed by root damage by heavy equipment (Motooka et al., 2003).
Chemical control

F. moluccana is verysusceptible to hormone type herbicides, being severely injured by cut-surface application of 2,4-D and by glyphosate and killed outright by dicamba and triclopyr. It is susceptible to basal bark or cut stumps applications of triclopyr (Motookaet al., 2003). For the related Paraserianthes lophantha subsp. montana in New Zealand, Starr et al. (2003) reports that trees can be controlled by either a cut stump and herbicide method, or, as Haley (1997) reports that felling trees may open up new space and light gaps for more seedling to establish, frilling is the preferred method. Girdle or ringbark 20 cm from the ground and paint the exposed area immediately with a herbicide, and there is also no costs associated with the removal of material.


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Agnihothrudu V, 1962. Two species of Pellicularia parasitic on Albizzia falcata in Assam. Plant Protection Bulletin, F.A.O, 10:143-5.

Allison SD; Nielsen C; Hughes RF, 2006. Elevated enzyme activities in soils under the invasive nitrogen-fixing tree Falcataria moluccana. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 38(7):1537-1544.

Booth TH; Jovanovic T, 2000. Improving descriptions of climatic requirements in the CABI Forestry Compendium. A report for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. CSIRO - Forestry and Forest Products, Client Report No. 758.

CABI, 2005. Forestry Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CABI.

Faridah Hanum I; Maesen LJG van der, eds. , 1997. Plant resources of southeast Asia. No. 11. Auxillary plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys.

Haley N, 1997. Weeds in New Zealand. Weeds in New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand: Department of Conservation.

Hocking D; Islam K, 1995. Trees in Bangladesh paddy fields. 2. Survival of trees planted in crop fields. Agroforestry Systems, 31(1):39-57; 21 ref.

Hughes RF; Denslow JS, 2005. Invasion by a N2-fixing tree alters function and structure in wet lowland forests of Hawaii. Ecological Applications, 15:1615-1628.

ILDIS, 2009. International Legume Database and Information Service. Reading, UK: School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading.

Krisnawati H; Varis E; Kallio MH; Kanninen M, 2011. Paraserianthes falcataria (L.) Nielsen: ecology, silviculture and productivity. Jakarta, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), vi + 13 pp.

Kueffer C; Klingler G; Zirfass K; Schumacher E; Edwards PJ; Güsewell S, 2008. Invasive trees show only weak potential to impact nutrient dynamics in phosphorus-poor tropical forests in the Seychelles. Functional Ecology, 22(2):359-366.

Lança AJde C; Parreira AMR, 2004. The pastures and forages of East-Timor. Pastagens e Forragens, 24/25:69-84.

Little EL Jr; Skolmen RG, 1989. Common forest trees of Hawaii. USDA Agriculture Handbook No 679. Washington DC, USA: United States Department of Agriculture.

Meyer JY, 2007. Conserving natural forests and managing protected areas in French Polynesia. (Conservation des forêts naturelles et gestion des aires protégées en Polynésie française.) Bois et Forêts des Tropiques, No.291:25-40.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2009. Tropicos database. St Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.

Motooka P; Castro L; Nelson D; Nagai G; Ching L, 2003. Weeds of Hawaii's pastures and natural areas: an identification and management guide. Honolulu, HI, USA: College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 184 pp.

Natawiria D, 1972. Pests and diseases of Albizia falcataria [A. falcata]. Rimba Indonesia, 1973, 17(1-2):58-69; 16 ref.

Nielsen I; Guinet P; Baretta Kuipers T, 1984. Studies in the Malesian, Australian and Pacific Ingeae (Leguminosae-Mimosoideae): the genera Archidendropsis, Wallaceodendron, Paraserianthes, Pararchidendron and Serianthes (part 3). Bulletin du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, B Adansonia, 6(1):79-111; 41 ref.

Nitrogen Fixing Tree Association, 1989. Paraserianthes falcataria - Southeast Asia's growth champion, USA: NFTA, 89-05.

Oppenheimer HL; Bartlett RT, 2002. New plant records from the main Hawaiian Islands. Bishop Museum Occassional Paper, 69(2):1-14.

Oviedo Prieto R; Herrera Oliver P; Caluff MG, et al. , 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue 1):22-96.

Peh TB; Khoo KC, 1984. Timber properties of Acacia mangium, Gmelina arborea, [and] Paraserianthes [Albizia] falcataria and their utilization aspects. Malaysian Forester, 47(3-4):285-303; 37 ref.

PIER, 2014. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii.

Roshetko J, 1998. Albizia and Paraserianthes production and use: a field manual. Morrilton, AR, USA: Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Network (FACT Net).

Ruskin FR, 1983. Firewood crops. Shrub and tree species for energy production. Volume 2. 1983, vii + 92 pp.; 36 pl. BOSTID Report No. 40. Washington DC, USA: National Academy Press. 6 pp. ref.

Schubert TH, 1985. Preliminary results of Eucalyptus/legume mixtures in Hawaii. Nitrogen Fixing Tree Research Reports, 3: 65-66.

Skolmen RG, 1960. Plantings on the Forest Reserves of Hawai'i: 1910-1960. Plantings on the Forest Reserves of Hawai'i: 1910-1960., USA: Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment.

Smith CW, 1998. Pest Plants of Hawaiian Native Ecosystems. Pest Plants of Hawaiian Native Ecosystems. Manoa: Hawaiian Alien Plant Studies, University of Hawai'i, unpaginated.

Soerianegara I; Lemmens RHMJ, eds. , 1993. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 5(1). Timber trees: major commercial timbers. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers. Also published by PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. pp. 610.

Starr F; Starr K; Loope L, 2003. Falcataria moluccana, Molucca albizia, Fabaceae. Falcataria moluccana, Molucca albizia, Fabaceae.

Toral O; Simón L, 2001. Relative acceptability of fodder trees in the genera Leucaena and Albizia. (Aceptabilidad relativa de especies arboreas forrajeras de los generos Leucaena y Albizia.) Pastos y Forrajes, 24(3):209-216.

Tuttle NC; Beard KH; Pitt WC, 2009. Invasive litter, not an invasive insectivore, determines invertebrate communities in Hawaiian forests. Biological Invasions, 11(4):845-855.

USDA-ARS, 2009. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.

USDA-NRCS, 2009. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center.

Wagner WL; Herbst DR; Sohmer SH, 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i. Vols 1 and 2. Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu, USA: University of Hawai'i and Bishop Museum Press.

Yan Shu; Hu DeHuo; Wei RuPing; Wang RunHui; Liu Jun; He HanBo; Zeng JianXiong, 2011. Criteria for selecting superior trees of Paraserianthes falcataria. Forest Research, Beijing, 24(2):272-276.

Distribution References

Agnihothrudu V, 1962. Two species of Pellicularia parasitic on Albizzia falcata in Assam. Plant Protection Bulletin, F.A.O. 143-5.

CABI, 2005. Forestry Compendium. In: Forestry Compendium, Wallingford, UK: CABI.

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

ILDIS, 2009. International Legume Database and Information Service. In: International Legume Database and Information Service, Reading, UK: School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading.

Lança A J de C, Parreira A M R, 2004. The pastures and forages of East-Timor. Pastagens e Forragens. 69-84.

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff M G, et al, 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 6 (Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

PIER, 2014. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk., Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii.

Toral O, Simón L, 2001. Relative acceptability of fodder trees in the genera Leucaena and Albizia. (Aceptabilidad relativa de especies arboreas forrajeras de los generos Leucaena y Albizia.). Pastos y Forrajes. 24 (3), 209-216.

USA, Missouri Botanical Garden, 2009. Tropicos database. In: Tropicos database, St Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.

USDA-NRCS, 2009. Cornus sericea. In: The PLANTS Database, Baton Rouge, LA, USA: National Plant Data Center.

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS) source for updated system data added to species habitat list.


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14/07/2009 Updated by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Consultant, France

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