Common Names: Jumbay, Cow-Bush, Jump and Go Jumbie Bean, Lead Tree
Habit Leucaena leucocephala grows as a shrub to medium size tree up to 10 meters in height. The evenly, bipinnately compound leaves are arranged alternately and to 10 cm in length. The leaflets are in 11-17 pairs, oblong with an acute leaf apex and entire margin. Between the lower-most pinnae there may be a small circular depressed gland. The base of the petiole and leaflets are swollen.
The actinomorphic flowers are arranged in heads. The calyx has 4 fused green sepals forming a short tube. The corolla has 5 unfused green petals. There are 10 white stamens 5 times the length of the corolla. The ovary is superior and has a single locule. The fruit is a brown legume at maturity
Habitat: Leucaena leucocephala grows in human-disturbed environments such as roadsides, abandoned fields as well as the edges of Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations (coppice)
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Leucaena leucocephala occurs on all island groupings within the Bahamian Archipelago as well as Florida, the Caribbean region and tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Leucaena leucocephala is used in the Bahamas to treat colds, fevers and flu, in strengthening teas, circulatory problems (heart issues), to calm nerves, to treat tuberculosis, and to reduce back pain and menstrual cramps. The leaves and seeds are edible if sufficiently cooked. The seeds can be roasted, ground and used as a coffee substitute.
Leucaena leucocephala was originally introduced as feed for animals since it grew so quickly. Unbeknownst it actually contains trace amounts of toxin that causes certain animals to lose their hair.
As Leucaena leucocephala grows rapidly it has also been used for charcoal production and to provide shade for coffee and cacao.
Leucaena leucocephala is considered a non-native invasive species. It should be removed when possible!! The Levy Preserve is actively removing all specimens from the property.