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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Millettia pinnata – Diesel Tree (plant)

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Pongamia pinnata is native to India and Asian regions, also being native to Northern Australia. It has recently been reclassified as Millettia pinnata.

The bark can be used to make twine or rope and it also yields a black gum that is used to treat wounds caused by poisonous fish. The flowers are used by gardeners as compost for plants requiring rich nutrients. Although all parts of the plant are toxic and will induce nausea and vomiting if eaten, the fruits and sprouts, along with the seeds, are used in many traditional remedies. Juices from the plant, as well as the oil, are antiseptic and resistant to pests.

In addition the Pongamia tree has the rare property of producing seeds of 25-35% lipid content. The seed oil is an important asset of this tree having been used as lamp oil, in soap making, and as a lubricant for thousands of years. This oil is rapidly gaining popularity as a source of feedstock for bio-diesel production as it rich in oleic acid (C18:1).

Care and Cultivation of Millettia pinnata

Likes a full sun position in well drained sandy soil. Drought tolerant once established. Nitrogen fixing shade tree.

1 plant


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