Leucaena diversifolia (Schlecht.) Benth.

Leucaena diversifolia (Schlecht.) Benth.




Acacia diversifolia Schlecht., Leucaena laxifolia Urban, Leucaena stenocarpa Urban.

Vernacular Names

English Leucaena.
Indonesia Lamtoro.
Philippines Ipil-ipil.

Geographical Distributions

Leucaena diversifolia originated from Central American, occurring naturally from eastern and central Mexico through Honduras to Nicaragua. It was introduced into Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Java in the late 1800s. It is now widespread throughout the tropics, particularly in Southeast Asia.


L. diversifolia is a tree or erect shrub that can reach up to 3-20 m tall and with a straight bole that measuring up to 40 cm in diametre. It is slender and ascending branches with horizontal twigs. The bark is greyish and with a lenticellate.

The leaves are bipinnate, measure 8-25 cm long, with 12-35 pairs of pinnae and up to 4 large glands between basal pairs of pinnae.

The petiole and rachis are reddish. There are 20-60 pairs of leaflets per pinna. The leaflets are linear, measuring 3-6 mm x 1-2 mm and with acute apex.

The inflorescence is a spherical and dense head, measuring 6-15 mm in diametre, reddish, borne in clusters in leaf axil and bears 50-90 flowers. The flower is light pink to bright red. The sepal is 1.5 mm long while the petal is 3 mm long. There are 10 stamens which are 4-7 mm long.

The pod is 10-18 mm x 8-12 mm, bright red and smooth. The mature seed measures about 5 mm long.

Ecology / Cultivation

In the tropics, L. diversifolia grows in areas from 700-2500 m altitudes while subsp. diversifolia occurs naturally above 1000 m altitude. L. diversifolia is found in cool and seasonally wet locations with an average annual rainfall of 600-2800 mm and mean maximum temperature of the hottest month is between 18-30°C. It does not withstand drought as well. It has a strong light requirement and tolerates only partial shade. L. diversifolia prefers slightly acid, fertile soils, but is tolerant of leached soils. It is often grown in deforested, degraded areas, dominated by Imperata cylindrica (L.) Raeuschel and Themeda triandra Forssk.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 11: Auxiliary plants.