A large tree which can reach 40-50 cm tall. Leaves are twice
pinnate, with 10-19 pairs of opposite, pinnate leaves. Each pinnate
leaf, 15-30 cm long, has many pairs of small, sessile leaflets.
Flowers which are small and creamy white, are found in densely
crowded heads. Pods are large, 40-55 cm long and 4-5 cm wide,
straight or commonly twisted, dangling in small bundles, green
becoming black. Each pod contains 10-18 large seeds.
Petai tree is a native of the malay peninsula,
growing wild in lowland forests, often cultivated in malay
kampongs. The pods taste like garlic and have a very strong odour.
The immature seeds, young leaves and fresh parts of the flower
stalks can be eaten raw. Half-ripe pods are pickled in salt. Petai
are commonly cook with tumis sambal or eaten raw with belacan.