Adenanthera pavonina

Bead tree

Also known as:

Saga tree, red sandalwood tree, coral bean tree

Family: Fabaceae

Origin: Asia

The leaves of a bead tree towering over others.
The leaves are oval and a dull green colour.
Photo credit: Antonie van den Bos,

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Not a legally declared pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Erect, deciduous tree about 15 m tall. Trunk is dark brown/grey and often multi-stemmed. Leaves are large and bi-pinnate, with 6 opposite pairs of pinnae and 21 alternate pinnules.

Flowers are small, creamy-yellow and borne on narrow spike-like racemes. Seed pods are about 22 cm long, narrow, curved and curl when split. Seeds are hard, obovoid and bright red.

What you need to know

Although bead tree is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower-risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.


Forest, coastal areas, riparian margins, disturbed habitats.


Seeds dispersed by birds, water, gravity and soil movement.

Impact on environment

May outcompete native plants. Nitrogen fixer.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel.

Basic Growsafe certified: Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Drill and inject trees with 10g metsulfuron-methyl per 1L of water if safe to do so. Drill 18mm holes (tangentially angled downwards) in a spiral up the trunk.

For 50mm stems drill one hole. For 100mm stems drill two holes. For larger stems drill holes 150mm apart. Foliar spray seedlings with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

Safety notes

Large trees must not be drilled that are closer than 1.5 times the height of the tree from paths, walkways and property.

Trees over 4 metres in height should be removed by a qualified arborist.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

The leaves of a bead tree towering over others.
The leaves are oval and a dull green colour.
Photo credit: Antonie van den Bos,
Four hard red little seeds from the bead tree resting on the palm of someone's hand.
Bead tree seeds are hard and bright red.
Photo credit: Antonie van den Bos,
The curled seed pod of a bead tree.
The bead tree has seed pods that are curved, long and narrow.
Photo credit: