Sahyadri Conservation Series 59
ENVIS Technical Report: 111, July 2016


Ramachandra T.V.           Gouri Kulkarni           Akhil C. A.           M.D. Subash Chandran
Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012, India.
*Corresponding author:
Citation: Ramachandra T V, Gouri Kulkarni, Akhil C A and Subash Chandran M D, 2016., Botanical wonder at Indian Institute of Science (Entada pursaetha – Wonder Climber of Western Ghats),  Sahyadri Conservation Series 59,  ENVIS Technical Report 111, Energy & Wetlands Research Group, CES, IISc, Bangalore, India

Morphological Characteristic of Entada pursaetha


Entada pursaetha DC.; Entada scandens auct. non Benth.; Entada monostachya DC.

Vernacular name:

Hallekaayi-balli, Pallekaayi (Kannada)

Common name:

African Dream-nut, Elephant Creeper, Mackay Bean, Ladynut

Global distribution:

Tropical and South Africa, Sri Lanka, India to China, Malaysia to Australia

Flowering & Fruiting:

March to May


Common along river and stream sides of evergreen and semi-evergreen forests.

Ecosystem service:

Seeds eaten by Indian Giant Squirrel (Ratufa indica indica)

Uses - Food:

White kernels of seeds are edible.

Uses - Medicine:

Bark and seed used for ulcers, stem for skin diseases, seed used as stomach ache, anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory and dietary supplement. Seeds are known as African Dream-nut and used for hallucinatory effects by shamans of Africa.

Description: It is a gigantic climber with twisted angled stems. Bark brown and fibrous. Leaves dark green, bi-pinnate, leaf-rachis glabrous, grooved, ending in a bifid tendril, pinnae 2-3 pairs, leaflets 3-4 pairs, up to 9*4 cm, ovate-oblong, obtuse of emarginated at apex. Spikes up to 30 cm long, from the axils of upper leaves or from nodes on the leafless branches. Flowers in long axillary pendulous spikes, up to 30 cm long, from the axils of the upper leaves or from the nodes on the leafless branches. Small, polygamous, pale yellow in colour. Calyx campanulate, 5-toothed. Petals 5, oblanceolate, free or slightly cohering. Stamens 10, free, shortly connate at base, exserted; anthers tipped with deciduous stalked gland. Ovary subsessile, many ovuled c. 8 or more; style filiform. Fruit a pod, huge, up to 2 m × 15 cm size, compressed, woody, 6-15 jointed; joints discoid or square. Breaking down into single-seeded segments, leaving the outer rim. Seed flat, round disc shaped, c. 5 cm in diam., smooth glabrous brown or purple in colour, testa very hard. Can survive lengthy periods of immersion in fresh water and sea water facilitating water dispersal and establishment close to streams and rivers and coastal forests.

Source of seeds

Pod containing 14 seeds was collected from the evergreen Forest in Yellapur taluk, Uttara Kannada district, Western Ghats (latitude 13°55' to 15°31'N, longitude. 74°9' to 75°10'E) about 55 km from the Arabian Sea, at an elevation of 700-800 meters above sea level.

Climate at seed collection location

The region receives 450 cm or more annual rainfall, and during post monsoon period the wind speed is 8-10 m/s.

Year of planting

1988 (planted seeds at seven locations and among these only the one planted near CES grew and spread in the vicinity of Silver oak marg.

Planted by

T V Ramachandra


mechanical cracking of the hard testa, the seeds were kept in a coarse cloth bag and floated in pond water for about 20 days before sowing at  seven locations in  Indian Institute of Science campus.

Germination success

Of the 7 seeds sown, one buried in soil close to a tree of Bauhinia purpurea (Caesalpinioideae, Leguminosae) (adjacent to CES department) has grown into a liana, spreading its canopy on a miniforest of semi-evergreen tropical trees, in an area roughly equivalent to 1.6 ha.


In a dry subtropical environment, the receives about 800 mm annual rainfall and located at 918 m asl.