Samanea saman is stated by some to be an obsolete name for what is now called Albizia saman, but this seems to be contentious. Pithecellobium saman is a synonym for albizia saman
In any case, it is of the familyFabaceae (syn Leguminosae) the legume, pea, or bean family, and is native to the Neotropics. Its range extends from Mexico south to Peru and Brazil. It has also been introduced to South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. Common names include saman, raintree and monkeypod (but monkeypod is a name used by other species as well so there is a lot of room for confusion).
Correspondent Eric Jackson tells me "Samanea saman is from central america but has been widely planted as a popular shade tree worldwide, especially in asia and hawaii so much so that locals think they are indigenous. In the phillipines they are called acacias and in Singapore they call them raintrees and I believe hawaii as well. In Panama they are called guachapali, red or white. In costa rica they are called cenizaro and confusingly in el salvador, zorra."
my samples: NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K) colors will vary under other lighting conditions
both sides of a sample plank of raintree / Albizia saman --- HUGE enlargements are present.
end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above
plank listed as raintree / Pithecellobium spp., although why is says "spp." is a mystery to me since as far as I know, Pithecellobium saman is the only Pithecellobium that has raintree as all or part of one or more of its common names.
planks listed as golden raintree / Albizia saman. The vendor of these plank INSISTS that both the "golden raintree" and the "Albizia saman" designations are correct but (1) they don't know that for a fact themselves, they are relying on their vendor in South America, and (2) every bit of research I have done says otherwise. Albizia saman is raintree, never "golden" raintree. The only botanical names for golden raintree are Koelreuteria elegans and Koelreuteria paniculata. SO ... despite what the vendor says, I'm considering this to be raintree / Albizia saman, not golden raintree.
three planks from the same vendor, labeled raintree / Albizia saman / Samanea saman --- I am confident these are not a raw wood color but have been moistened for the pics