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krathin (กระถิน)

Thai name for the Horse Tamarind, a small tree in the legume family Fabaceae, whose members are commonly known as Lead Trees. It has the scientific name Leucaena leucocephala and is commonly also known as Wild Tamarind, Jumbie Bean, Jumbay, White Popinac, White Lead Tree, Lead Bean, and Wild Mimosa. It has bipinnately compound leaves, with small, green, narrowly oblong, point-tipped leaflets, and the flowers are round puffballs, that consist of numerous white stamens with hairy, pale yellow anthers (fig.). The young leaves, known as yod krathin (ยอดกระถิน), are edible, bitter in taste, and eaten raw (fig.) with certain dishes, such as curries, which are in general referred to as kaeng (fig.). Its seeds are contained in long, flat bean pods (fig.) which, when still green, are edible and served fresh as a side dish with certain Thai dishes. Although the young pods are eaten as a vegetable and harmless to humans, the seeds and leaves do contain the toxic amino acid mimosine, which is said to cause hair loss, infertility and weight loss in certain non-ruminants.