Leucaena, Lead tree, or White popinac (Leucaena
leucocephala) (also called petai cina in Indonesian and lamtoro or
lamotorogung in Javanese) is a Mimosacea tropical plant used for
fiber and livestock feed. It is also called Bawzagaing in Myanmr
(formerly know as Burma)
It has been considered for biomass production, as its reported yield
of foliage corresponds to a dried mass of 2000-20000 kg/ha/year, and
that of wood 30-40 m³/ha/year, with up to twice those amounts in
favourable climates. It is also efficient in nitrogen fixation, at
more than 500 kg/ha/year.
One of the drawbacks of this species is its susceptibility to insect
infestations. In the 1980s, there was widespread loss in South East
Asia due to pest attack by psyllids
Indigenous people in Mexico and Central America, where Leucaena is
native, use it as a vegetable. Unripe seeds are consumed with gusto
and added to salsa. Green seeds are also consumed raw in Thailand
The shoots and young leaves are edible. They are often eaten raw
with chilli paste.
If not cooked however, the tannic acid can be a bit strong. In fact,
this plant used to be used to treat leather... so if the chillies
don't upset your stomach, the acid will.