Albizia zygia

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In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.

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Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
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Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana

Local names:
Igbo (nyie avu), Swahili (nongo), Yoruba (ayin rela)

Albizia zygia is a deciduous tree 9-30 m tall with a spreading crown and a graceful architectural form. Bole tall and clear, 240 cm in diameter. Bark grey and smooth. Young branchlets densely to very sparsely clothed with minute crisped puberulence, usually soon disappearing but sometimes persistent.

Leaves pinnate, pinnae in 2-3 pairs and broadening towards the apex, obliquely rhombic or obovate with the distal pair largest, apex obtuse, 29-72 by 16-43 mm, leaves are glabrous or nearly so.

Flowers subsessile; pedicels and calyx puberulous, white or pink; staminal tube exserted for 10-18 mm beyond corolla. 

Fruit pod oblong, flat or somewhat transversely plicate, reddish-brown in colour, 10-18 cm by 2-4 cm glabrous or nearly so.

The seeds of A. zygia are smaller (7.5-10 mm long and 6.5 to 8.5 mm wide) and flatter than either of the other Albizia, but have the characteristic round shape, with a slightly swollen center.

The genus was named after Filippo del Albizzi, a Florentine nobleman who in 1749 introduced A. julibrissin into cultivation.


A light demanding pioneer species, it is rarely found in closed canopy forests dominated by Chlorophora regia and Ficus macrosperma. Common in lowland coastal rain-forests, riverine forest and in woodland. This tree is indigenous to tropical Africa and has a wide distribution, from Senegal in west Africa to eastern Africa.

Native range
Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda

Tree management

A rapidly growing tree, a two year old tree can be 3 m tall. Has little management needs, however pollarding and coppicing are recommended for form improvement and propagation.

A pretreatment of c. 100 seeds with 30 ml 98% sulphuric acid for five minutes followed by thorough washing in free flowing tap water significantly improves germination by up to (86%).

A light demanding pioneer species, it is rarely found in closed canopy forests dominated by Chlorophora regia and Ficus macrosperma. Common in lowland coastal rain-forests, riverine forest and in woodland. This tree is indigenous to tropical Africa and has a wide distribution, from Senegal in west Africa to eastern Africa.

Vegetative propagation using leafed cuttings enriched with Indole-3-butyric acid, show significantly higher rooting percentage, root length, and root numbers. Natural seedborne regeneration is popular but seeds may require a pretreatment. Wild seedlings can be transplanted to favourable sites or protected in situ.

Has a high potential for ameliorating degraded cocoa soils. The species also exhibits characteristics of drought avoidance.

Erosion control: With a fairly deep rooting system A. zygia has great potential to protect vulnerable soils.

 The young leaves are cooked and consumed as a vegetable, especially in soups. Analysis of the seeds reveals a low crude protein content. Amino acids such as lysine, sulfur amino acids and threonine are limiting, indicating the limited nutritional value of A. zygia seeds.

The shoots and leaf are eaten by livestock.

Apiculture:  The nectariferous flowers attract bees.

Provides considerable amounts of charcoal in Ghana and fuelwood in other localities.

Timber:  Produces a class three timber with the trade name “Okuro”, this is a quality timber with a pale brown heartwood fairly easy to work, durable but not termite proof. Used in construction, making handles of farm implements, household utensils and furniture. A. zygia is a preferred species for wood carving in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Shade or shelter: Provides shade for cacao trees in plantations.

Tannin or dyestuff:  Bark has tannins.

Medicine:  Molluscicidal activity shown by leaf extracts of A. zygia.

Gum or resin: A viscous gum from A. zygia can be used as a stabilizer in ice-cream.

Nitrogen fixing: A. zygia is confirmed as nodulating, Rhizobium-type root nodules were found on roots of mature specimens of A. zygia. Greenhouse and field experiments indicate the tree is also capable of symbiotic nitrogen fixation with Bradyrhizobium and forming vesicular arbiscular mycorrhiza.

Ornamental: As an ornamental this showy tree can grace avenues and recreation sites.

Though termite vulnerable, the wood can be used for temporary structures or fencing.

Soil improver: Provides mulch leaf litter and improves the pH in acidic soils.

Intercropping:  As an agroforestry tree, it is still untested but looks promising. In Ghana the tree is one of the most favoured cacao shade trees.

Other services: Provides shelter, shade and serves as a windbreak.