Rain tree, Suar, Monkeypod (Albizia saman, Samanea saman) are common names for a tree that originally grew in Central and South America, mainly in Colombia and Venezuela. Due to its sum of good properties, it is now widely used as a source of shade in almost all subtropical climates of Southeast Asia. The origin of the name is unclear, the peculiarity of folding up its finely feathered leaves in the rain or at night and unfolding them again in the morning is possibly an explanation, as rain falls directly to the ground under the tree and so supplies the soil with water. This tree also serves as a preferred food source for the lacquer scale insect, from which shellac, which has been used for centuries, is extracted.
The trees, which grow very large and particularly thick, provide very good, medium-hard and durable wood, which is often cut into huge planks for large tables. Colours of rain tree wood are a yellowish sapwood, mostly set off against chocolate brown heartwood, which turns golden brown with age and often shows black stripes. An often occurring fine interlocked grain shows lustre and makes the grain texture appear plastically like a silk fabric, this grain is best suited for large surfaces. The wood of the rain tree is used for a wide variety of purposes, from timber and building purposes to fine veneers, furniture and musical instruments.