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The genus Leucaena includes several multipurpose tree species and interspecific hybrids that can withstand almost any type or frequency of pruning or coppicing. They are native to Mexico and Central America, and now abundant in the Philippines, West Africa, Nepal, Australia and Hawaii. Spanish sailing vessels reportedly introduced Leucaena to Asia four centuries ago. A total of thirteen species of Leucaena, mostly shrub species, are distributed within the New World tropics and subtropics.

Reddish brown pods (when mature),from the UHDP Center in Northern Thailand. Red leucaena has been promoted by the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center for its tolerance of acidic soil and as a psyllid resistant alternative to L. leucocephala.