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Piptadenia gonoacantha - (Mart.) J.F.Macbr.

Common Name Pau jacaré - alligator stick
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Atlantic rainforest, most commonly along the coastal plain, favouring open and secondary growth areas, growing in both rich and poor soils[419 ].
Range S. America - Paraguay, southern, eastern and northeastern Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Piptadenia gonoacantha Pau jacaré - alligator stick

Piptadenia gonoacantha Pau jacaré - alligator stick
João Medeiros wikimedia.org


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Piptadenia gonoacantha is a fast-growing, semi deciduous tree characterized by an open and ellipsoidal crown. It can be found in South America. Belonging in the legume family, it is capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen due to its symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria that form root nodules. The wood is moderately heavy, hard, and moderately resistant to termites. It is used as material for a furniture, indoor finishing, toys, door panels, etc, and as fuel and for charcoal making.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Piptadenia gonoacantha is a deciduous Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Acacia gonoacantha Mart. Piptadenia communis Benth. Pityrocarpa gonoacantha (Mart.) Brenan

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Containers  Fuel  Furniture  Pioneer  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: A fast-growing, pioneer species that has a fairly open crown and also fixes atmospheric nitrogen, it is a good choice as a pioneer species for restoring native woodlands and also for establishing woodland gardens[419 ]. Other Uses The wood is thick-textured; irregular-grained; moderately heavy; hard to cut, but soft to work with; medium resistance to the attacks of wood-eating organisms. It is used for indoor finishing, furniture frames, door panels, toys and packing cases[419 ]. One of the best woods in Brazil for use as fuel and for making charcoal[419 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a sunny position[419 ]. Succeeds in a range of soils, including poor ones[419 ]. A fast-growing plant, easily reaching a height of 5 metres within 2 years from seed[419 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[755 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed or in individual containers. A very high germination rate can be expected from fresh seed, with the seed sprouting within 5 - 10 days[419 ]. When the seedbed-sown seedlings are 4 - 6cm tall, pot them up into individual containers and they should be ready to plant out 3 - 4 months later[419 ]. The seeds have a very short viability in storage[419 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Brazil; Bolivia, Plurinational State of; Paraguay

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Piptadenia stipulaceaPiptadenia bearing stipulesTree4.0 10-12 FLMHNDM004

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Mart.) J.F.Macbr.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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