Aeschynomene aspera

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Name and publication

Aeschynomene aspera L., Sp. Pl. 2: 713 (1753).

Description

The white, corky pith of this shrubby tropical legume is called sola in India. It is cut into thin sections for manufacturing flowers (“sola chorki”) and other decorative items or used in other industries where the airy pith is valuable, such as insulation or sun helmets. The appearance of the thin slivers is very much like a white, spongy plastic. With the bark left intact, the stem may also be cut into slices to resemble almond slices, about 4-6 cm long.

Nativity and distribution

Aeschynomene aspera is native to the Indian Subcontinent, Indo-China, and Malesia. In Africa, A. afraspera J. Léonard, sola pith, and A. elaphroxylon (Gull. & Perr.) Taub., ambatch, are used in a similar fashion.

Family

Fabaceae (alt. Leguminosae), also placed in Papilionaceae

Synonymy