Monday, January 14, 2013

Why is a Rain Tree Called a Rain Tree?

Botanically speaking, the tree is called Samanea saman, also known as the rain tree or monkeypod tree. There are a number of reasons why it is called the rain tree. 

  • First, the leaves (actually leaflets) on this tree are light-sensitive and close together on cloudy days and at night.  This allows rain to fall through the canopy with little resistance. 
  • Second, as certain sap-sucking insects like aphids feed, they also excrete sugary waste called honeydew.  If the tree is infested with a large population of these insects, the honeydew they produce will constantly rain down like a fine mist.  Don’t park your car under the tree while this is going on. 
  •  Third, the nectaries on the leaf stems at times will also expel a sugary juice.