Madre de Cacao

Gliricidia sepium

Family: Fabaceae

Common names: kakawate, madre de cacao

Reference:, Tropical Forages, Living Fences

Origin: introduced by the Spaniards from Mexico, thoroughly naturalized throughout the Philippines

  • found all over the farm
  • easy to propagate by stem cuttings
  • used as living fence
  • pioneer tree
  • used as cut and carry feed for ruminants, green manure
  • leguminous – provides nitrogen for the soil
  • this tree was given a Medal of Honor in Honduras!
  • when it is in bloom, the leaves fall off


  • Fresh leaves applied to the skin as insect repellant
  • Leaves have a fetid smell; crushed, used to rid dogs of fleas and ticks and cattle, of ticks
  • In Latin American, used by farmers to repel insects. Leaves are ground up, mixed with water, and the resulting paste use to bathe animals, and repeated every 7 to 14 days, decreasing the infections from tropical warble fly
  • I want to see this: “As the tree pods hang-dry in the sun, they curl and explode, making a popping cracking sound. A cluster of trees with their pods snapping and popping and falling to the ground, in unison, make a fascinating afternoon of nature’s concoction of sound.”
  • And this: “The tree is common in the southern Tagalog areas, shedding leaves around December and flowering February and March. In some areas, the blooming of its pink flowers is so profuse to deserve a comparison with the cherry blossoms. “

madre de cacao

madre de cacao


madre de cacao in bloom

madre de cacao in bloom


madre de cacao flower and buds

madre de cacao flower and buds


madre de cacao in bloom

madre de cacao in bloom

trees and shrubs

9 thoughts on “Madre de Cacao

  1. I haven’t bought any because we have a lot already. I’ve seen cuttings for sale in some of the farming groups I’ve joined on Facebook. I It’s pretty easy to grow, but you won’t able to harvest the leaves until the plants start growing. Here are some links:

    Some guy selling a madre de cacao-based spray for dogs (mange). I don’t know him and have not tried his product! Just happened to see it on Facebook:

    An old ad from a Facebook farming group. I personally know the seller Maila Vilela-Toreja:

    Hope this helps!

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