Common Name: Soap Bark. Tamil Name: Kari indu
Soap bark is often found around the deciduous and dry slopes areas of Western Ghats. It is a well armed straggler (scattered recurved prickly attachments on stem) and grows to around 6 meters. Commonly found around forest areas in Coimbatore-often forming large clumps. The leafs are double compound and arranged in an alternate manner. The leaf measures around 15 cm in length and consists of 5-6 pinnae (each pinnae has about 10-12 pairs of leaflets). The leaflets are arranged in an opposite manner; leaflets measure around 1.8 cm; slightly obovate in shape with a truncate unequal base; the tip is slightly notched. At the base of the swollen petiole there is a prominent leaf gland. At the base of the upper two leaflets there are smaller glands. The inflorescence is in the form of a terminal panicle; immature flower heads are red in color they open up to produce cream colored flower heads. The flower head measure around 2 cm across. The fruit is in the form of a flat pod the seeds are rust in color. The flowers are mildly fragrant and the nectar rich flowers are much sort after by bees. Soap bark is an important food source for Elephants.