Albizia chinensis

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Aegle marmelos
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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Artocarpus integer
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Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
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Cattle grazing Albizia chinensis in southeast Queensland
© Gutteridge R.C.
© Gutteridge R.C.

Local names:
Bengali (tarli,chakua,amlukia), English (silk tree,Chinese albizia,sauce tree,the sau tree), Gujarati (kali siris), Hindi (seran,kala siris,samsundra,kanjujerla), Javanese (sengon), Lao (Sino-Tibetan) (kha:ng), Nepali (kalo siris,rato siris), Tamil (katt

Albizia chinensis is an unarmed, deciduous or evergreen tree with a flat, spreading crown, up to 30(-43) m tall and trunk up to 70(-140) cm in diameter; bark dark gray, rather smooth, densely hooped, lenticellate, thin; live bark 5 mm thick, pinkish-red. Branchlets slightly angular in the distal parts, terete, puberulous to tomentose, glabrescent.

Leaves bipinnate; stipules auriculate, very prominent, 1-1.5 cm x 0.6-3 cm, caducous, pinkish-orange, pubescent, with filiform tail, base much dilated at one side; rachis stout, 10-25 cm long, lenticellate, sparsely and minutely tomentellous, glabrescent, with an elliptical, raised gland near the base of 2-3 mm x 1-1.5 mm; pinnae 4-14(-20) pairs, 4-14 cm long, puberulous to tomentose, glabrescent, with glands at the junctions of the 1 or 2 distal pairs of leaflets, narrowly elliptical to slit-like, concave, 1 mm long, glands sometimes absent; leaflets (10-)20-30(-45) pairs per pinna, opposite, sessile, thinly chartaceous, asymmetrically subulate, 6-10 mm x 1.5-3 mm, apex sharply acute, base obtuse, oblique, midrib close to the upper margin, sparsely sericeous or glabrous on either side.

Inflorescence consisting of penduculate glomerules (heads) aggregated into terminal, yellow-green, tomentose to hirsute panicle; penducle 1-3 cm long, up to 5 in clusters, often with auriculate stipules at base; glomerule composed of 10-20 flowers; flowers pentamerous, dimorphic; in a glomerule the central flower is male, the marginal flowers are bisexual; calyx tubular to narrowly funnel-shaped, 2.5-5 mm long, tomentose to hirsute, ending in small triangular teeth; corolla funnel-shaped, 6-10 mm long, puberulous to hirsute especially on the lobes, lobes triangular-ovate, acute; stamens numerous, 2 cm long, at the base united into a tube as long as or slightly longer than the corolla tube; ovary glabrous, sessile.

Pod thin, flat, strap-shaped, 6-20 cm x 2-3 cm, often with slightly sinuate margins, indehiscent or breaking irregularly, reddish or yellowish-brown, glossy, 8-12 seeded.

Seed flattened ellipsoid, 7(-10) mm x 4-6 mm x 0.5-1 mm, dull dark brown, areole nearly circular, 1 mm in diameter.

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


A. chinensis occurs naturally in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Indo-China, China, Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali and Nusa Tenggara). It is a native of mixed deciduous forest in humid tropical and subtropical monsoon climates with annual rainfall varying from 1 000-5 000 mm. It occurs in secondary forest, along river banks, and in savannas up to 1 800 m altitude. Light frost is tolerated.

Native range
Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

Tree management

In tea plantations in India, the tree is planted at a spacing of about 7-15 m; for fodder production, the trees are grown at a spacing of 3 m x 1 m. At planting a small amount of a mixture of 60 % lime, 30 % superphosphate and 10 % urea is mixed with the soil in each planting hole, to promote early growth. Weeds have to be controlled regularly after transplanting until the plants reach a height of 1 m. Trees grown for shade are left to grow to 7 m tall and then cut back to 4 m. The trees can be harvested for fodder twice a year during the growing season by cutting the stem back to 1 m. It tolerates frequent pruning.

There are 50 000 seeds/kg. Seed storage behaviour is probably orthodox; viability is maintained for 12 months in open storage at room temperature.

A. chinensis occurs naturally in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Indo-China, China, Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali and Nusa Tenggara). It is a native of mixed deciduous forest in humid tropical and subtropical monsoon climates with annual rainfall varying from 1 000-5 000 mm. It occurs in secondary forest, along river banks, and in savannas up to 1 800 m altitude. Light frost is tolerated.

The tree is mostly propagated by seed. Dormancy can be broken by scarification or soaking seed in concentrated sulphuric acid for 10 minutes, followed by washing and soaking in water for 18 hours. After 6-8 weeks, the seedlings can be transplanted into the field.

Poison:  The bark contains triterpenes which have spermicidal activity. An extract of the wood has repellent property to subterranean termites.

As a fast growing tree legume, A. chinensis remains important in the reforestation of degraded land.

Erosion control:  A. chinensis is planted for slope stabilization.

The tree has shown potential as a fodder. Leaves are readily eaten by goats but the bark of branchlets is hardly consumed, possibly because of its high tannin content. Foliage contains 21-28 % crude protein. In tests carried out in Queensland, it yielded over 400 g leaf DM/tree over 5 growing seasons and productivity increased with successive years.

The tree produces low quality firewood.

Timber:  The wood is lightweight, soft and not very durable. Sapwood is white, heartwood light to dark brown. Its use is limited to house building, light furniture, tea chests and veneers. In India, it is used for boat building. The wood is resistant to termite and other insects attack.

Shade or shelter:  In tea and coffee plantations, it is used as a shade tree, often in a mixture with other trees.

Gum or resin:  A gum of low quality is extracted from the bark, which has been mixed with other gums and used as an extender.

Nitrogen fixing:  The tree is nitrogen fixing.

Ornamental:  The tree is grown as an ornamental in parks, gardens and along roads.

Soil improver:  A. chinensis is planted for soil improvement.

Intercropping:  In China, shade tolerant herbs are sometimes planted under the tree. In Bangladesh, the Garo agroforestry system incorporates tree crops (primarily A. chinensis) for shade, weed growth suppression, and ecological sustainability, while incorporating agricultural crops and pineapple for economic return.