Can Anyone ID This Seed Pod

evil_garden_gnome(6b)March 16, 2009


Does anyone know the name of the tree this seed pod comes from

Been trying to look it up with no luck

There's photos of it posted at the link below

Any help will be appreciated



Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Pod Pics

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Dan Staley

I'd say some sort of catalpa, but from here I don't see any hairs on the end of the seeds...


    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 3:53PM
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Sorry, don't know, but definitely not a Catalpa, that doesn't have the chambered interior like that, and the seeds inside Catalpa pods are smaller and with fluffy wings.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 5:54PM
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Dan Staley

I'm stuck in the Bignoniaceae. Bignonia? Is this a test, or is someone really trying to find out? Is there any other information other than this?


    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 11:34PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Where did the pod come from? Do you know anything about the tree?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 8:17AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Did someone give you this seed pod, or did you find it? 'Cause it looks kinda like carob to me.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 2:31PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Hmm, it doesn't look like carob inside or outside to me.

I also wonder if it's definite that it even came off of a tree.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 2:59PM
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Dan Staley

Tough one. Guessing now, acacia? My Hortus doesn't have seed detail (maybe too large of a Genus), but does note pod constriction...


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 3:08PM
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Thanx to everyone for trying to help

There's a shopping center by me that has these trees in the parking lot
Next time I'm by there I'll take some pics

The trees aren't very big, but I really don't know how to describe what they look like
Just thought they were kind of cool because the seed pods on them are like 20in. long
So I grabbed one to see if I could get a few to sprout
Personaly I have no idea what kind of trees they are which kind of makes it hard to look up LOL
Been trying to do image searches on trees with pods, but have had no luck finding it so far

If it helps, the pods are hard/woody & the seeds are slick/smooth, no hairs on the seeds or inside the pod & they average about 16 to 20 in. long

I'll try to get some pics of the trees posted in the next few days

Thanx again for trying to help / Appreciate it


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 3:21PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"There's a shopping center by me..."

Where's near me? city, state, etc.

Any chance you could describe the leaves?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 3:40PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Dan, what makes you think it's acacia? It's hard to eliminate an entire large genus, but it doesn't really look like any acacia I've seen.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 3:59PM
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Dan Staley

The key to tree ID is seeing the flowers, then leaves' shape and arrangement/tree form, and inside of seed pods is often last.

So closeups of the leaves' and attachment to twig, and of overall tree form plz. Flowers this time of year would be a bonus...

Anyway, that's esp interesting that a tree with these type pods and attendant litter are planted near a shopping center...


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 4:36PM
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Dan Staley

what makes you think it's acacia

Just guessing while thrashing about for ideas Brandon. We had some with long seed pods in our arboretum at UCD, but I've never seen inside one AFAIK, and my shelf refs are rather deficient on describing different Fabales' pods.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 5:00PM
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I have a tree with this seed pod in my front yard!(I'm in Alhambra, CA area) But, I don't know what the name of the tree is. A passersby said that it's an acacia tree. I don't know. I have been trying to find out so I could google how to trim this tree. It has pretty yellow flowers (I think it blooms once a year) but if you don't trim it right, it looks awful. I had it professionally done the last time but they didn't do a good job. It looked spooky. This time, I think I'll trim it myself.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 11:50AM
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Dan Staley

Many small yellow fls could mean an acacia. The leaves should be tiny and divided

There is a portion of the UCD arboretum that has many acacia trees, and I used to ride my bike through it daily on my way to classes.

The forum is waiting for the OP or someone to post pics so we can positively ID it....


    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 1:38PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

The Acacia genus is pretty large and there is quite a bit of variation. Flower color and leaf shape alone isn't going to give even a positive genus ID. A few good pictures of the tree posted here might go a long way. A site like may also be helpful in further identifying it. One of you guys/gals needs to post some pics. Up close ones with some leaf and hopefully flower detail.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Dan Staley

Only about 20-30 can take N CA, Brandon, and even fewer in front yards, so should be able to key out.

The acacias generally don't care for pruning, and I'm surprised a pro didn't do a good job as they are easy to prune (likely not a certified arborist). They send tons of sprouts after pruning so less is more with them.

Nonetheless, Brandon is correct and there is wide variation and we need piccies as described above. Esp in a few weeks when they are blooming (altho I don't know what the season is like there this year).


    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 3:32PM
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kman04(z6 KS)

The seed pods sure look like a species of Cassia to me, most likely Gold Medallion Tree (Cassia leptophylla) or Golden Shower Tree (Cassia fistula).

Here's a good photo of the seed pods of

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 6:56AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Hey, I think you're right! That does look like some kind of Cassia seed.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 5:29PM
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Dan Staley

Oooh! Good one. I doubt that it is a C. fistula growing in CA Bay Area, however. If I could find a better shot of the inside of the pod of C. leptophylla we'd be close.

These are rare in the Bay Area but easy to be confused with acacia (but not when in flower).


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 11:13AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Dan, are you trying to steal images. LOL

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 1:54PM
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Dan Staley

Call the cops! Apparently I can't embed a hyperlink in text or below either.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 1:46AM
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kman04(z6 KS)

Many Cassia have round or rounded seed pods which are chambered like the OP's photo. Virtually all Acacia have flat or flattened seed pods and the seeds tend to be more flattened than round like the OP's photo. The few Acacia with more rounded seed pods that I know of have irregular lumpy(fatter where each individual seed is) looking seed pods and the pods tend to be much shorter. Also the seeds in Acacia have the flat part of their seeds orientated where they face horizontal to the long part of the seed pod(face out vs. face the same direction of the length of the seed pod), while in Cassia its just the opposite, like in the OP's photo, so I don't think this is an Acacia. Also, no Cassia is all that common in the Bay Area, but I've seen them there, as well as in Southern California. Some really nice C. fistula in the Venice Beach area in LA, just across Pacific Avenue from the beach.

But an even more definitive difference between Cassia and Acacia of course are the flowers, with the flowers of Acacia largely being clusters of stamens(look like puffy clusters of hairs or threads) while those of Cassia of course have 5 large showy petals and look much more like a layperson's view of what a flower looks like.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 3:59AM
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Dan Staley

Yup. The key to ID is the flowers and seeing fls we'd key it out quickly by now. But I'm running with the Cassia as well. Of course, having lived in NorCal, I'm handicapped by not having seen them too often...


    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 11:17AM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

Humm. I know one way you could find out: Grow them and ask us again once they get bigger.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 2:27PM
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kman04 - you're awesome! It is a Gold Medallion Tree (Cassia leptophylla). I tried for quite some time to identify my own local example of this tree last night online, after spotting it once again while out wandering my neighborhood. but the closest I got was the Golden Shower Tree (C. fistula). That's close, but no cigar, as the seed pods are just that - cigar-like. They're cylindrical, and don't have the right coloring and textures as the pods of C. leptophylla, which are very rectangular in cross-section.

I brought home 2 of the huge pods last night. They're about 15"-20" long, and rattle like a rattlesnake tail. They're falling off it this month, making a big mess. I first noticed the tree last year when it exploded in yellow blooms, especially as the car parked under it (and under it again last night and tonight) is a sporty little yellow car, the same shade of yellow. It looked really cool, as the plume of branches and flowers made a matched-color umbrella over the car. The tree is between the sidewalk and street - a city-planted 'street tree,' and I've not seen another anywhere around here.

I'm in zone 10, and registering here on this site just now, reading the page about zones, I saw this snippet in the zone 10 info: "You can't grow apples, but you can grow tropical fruits, as well as Bougainvillea spectabilis (bougainvillea), ***Cassia fistula (golden shower)***, Eucalyptus citriodora (lemon eucalyptus), Ficus elastica (rubber plant), Ensete vetricosum (Abyssinian banana), and Roystonea regia (royal palm)." Emphasis (***) mine. Cassia (Cassias?) grow very well here, apparently, in west LA. There are 2 very tall E. citriodora's across the street from me, too. Also, leaves of Bougainvillea keep blowing into my yard, though I've not figured out from where yet.

Anyway, checking Dave's Garden's site for the gold medallion tree, every pic is a solid match to my tree. I brought home a twig of 4 of its long, opposite leaves tonight, between 11 and 13 leaflet pairs per leaf, and they match the DG pics exactly. The long, dark, rectangular-cross-section seed pods are a deed match, too, and both match the pic submitted here by the OP. The flowers in the DG pics match my memory of them (not blooming currently). I'm sold! It's a gold medallion tree. Great work, kman04, and thanks to everyone for helping me and the OP figure it out.

Oh, and just as a side note: the seed pod skins smell a great deal like fruit roll-ups. Strawberry, I think. I'm wondering about distilling essential oils from them now :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Dave's Garden - Gold Medallion Tree (Cassia leptophylla)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 5:27AM
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I think that the pods is a drumstick plant or moringa tree

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:02AM
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