Millettia pinnata

A small to relatively large tree usually growing 8-12 m tall. Its bark is relatively smooth and grey or greyish-brown in colour. Its alternately arranged leaves (5-25 cm long) are once-compound with 5-7 large shiny green leaflets. Its pink, light purple or whitish pea-shaped flowers (10-18 mm long) are arranged in elongated clusters. Its oval or slightly elongated pods (3-8 cm long) turn brown as they mature.

Common names 
Also known as: pongamia, Indian beech, Indian beech tree, pongame oiltree, pongamia tree, poonga oil-tree, wisteria tree,
Flowering time 
Year Round
Native to the Mascarenes, the Indian sub-continent, China, Japan, south-eastern Asia and northern Australia. Within Australia it is native to northern Queensland and the northern parts of the Northern Territory.
Council declaration 
Class R – Reduce populations
Known distribution 

Naturalised beyond its native range in south-eastern Queensland.


A weed of riparian vegetation, forest margins, urban bushland, roadsides, disturbed sites and waste areas.


A small to relatively large tree usually growing 8-12 m tall, but occasionally reaching up to 25 m in height.

Impact and control methods 
Stem and leaves 

The bark on the main trunk is grey or greyish-brown in colour and relatively smooth. Its younger stems are green and hairless (i.e. glabrous). The alternately arranged leaves (5-25 cm long and 2.5-15 cm wide) are once-compound with 5-7 leaflets (i.e. pinnate) and are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles). Individual leaflets (5-10 cm long and 4-6 cm wide) are oval (i.e. elliptic) in shape with pointed tips (i.e. acute apices). The shiny green leaves are hairless (i.e. glabrous) and turn from reddish to light green then dark green as they mature.

Flowers and fruits 

The pea-shaped flowers are arranged in elongated clusters in the upper leaf forks (i.e. axillary racemes). These pink, light purple, or whitish flowers (10-18 mm long) are borne on short stalks (i.e. pedicels). They have five sepals, five petals, ten stamens and an ovary topped with a style and stigma. Each flower has a larger upper petal (i.e. standard), two side petals (i.e. wings) and two smaller lower petals that are fused together and folded (i.e. a keel). The fruit are oval (i.e. elliptic) or slightly elongated pods (3-8 cm long and 2-3 cm wide) that turn from green to brown in colour as they mature. These fruit contain a few (1-3) large oblong seeds (16-26 mm long and 12-20 mm wide) that are light brown in colour.