What is Millettia?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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Milletta is a legume genus of the Fabaceae family that contains about 150 species. These species are spread in the tropical and subtropical areas around the globe. The Fabaceae family, also known as the legume family, is the third largest family of flowering plants. Shrubs, trees, and vines are all members of the family and their fruit are referred to as legumes or pods.

One species of this genus, Milletta pinnata, is a deciduous legume tree that grows to a maximum height of 80 feet (24 m). This tree forms a widespread canopy, is resistant to heat, and can survive water scarcity. The species is a native of southern Asia and is often referred to as the Indian beech tree or honge tree.

The honge tree is useful to humans in many ways. For example, its juice can be used as a insect repellent, and its bark is used to make ropes and black gum, which fight against poisonous fish bites. The tree became more well-known after it was discovered that its seed oil can be used as fuel in generators. This is beneficial to the people of India and other third-world countries because the tree often grows in abundance in these places. Compared to other kinds of fuel, this fuel is a much cheaper option.


Another species of this genus is the Millettia leucantha, or sathon. This tree is a perennial flowering plant and is a native to Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. The leaves of this species are used to prepare sathon sauce, which flavors Isaan foods.

The Millettia laurentii is a species of this genus and is known for its wood quality and appearance. It is of a deep brown color and is highlighted with black and white. The strength and density of the wood are considered above average. Found in Congo, Cameroon, and Gabon, this species is on the IUCN Red List as of 2010, meaning it is endangered. It has been extensively cut down for its wood, reducing its number significantly.

Wenge is a dark-colored wood that is fairly well known around the world. This wood is made from Millettia laurentii, a medium-sized tree that grows clusters of rose-pink flowers during flowering season. Once its pollination is completed, it grows pods with seeds inside.

Millettia mossambicensis is a species of this genus that is naturally confined to Mozambique. The tree grows up to a height of 23 feet (7 m) and is found in lowlands and forest areas. It flowers for only two months, September and October.


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