Forest 6 - Persian silk tree


Albizia julibrissin    Persian silk tree

Albizia julibrissin in Forest 6 2015 Flowers of Albizia julibrissin in Forest 6 2015

Other common names

Pink siris, Lenkoran acacia, Bastard tamarind. Iranian: Shabkhosb. Nepali: Rato siris

Origin of the species name

Albizia is named after Filippo del Albizzi, an Italian nobleman; julibrissin is based on the Persian words gul-i abrisham which mean silk flower.

Family

Fabaceae

Date Planted

August 2009

Lifespan

Persian silk trees generally live 10-20 years.

Albizia julibrissin tree. Photo taken offsite to show how the mature tree looks. (2)

General description

This is a small deciduous tree with a wide V-shaped crown. The bark is greenish grey and develops vertical stripes. The compound leaves have a feathery look and the pale pink flowers look like silk threads. The fruit is a 20 cm long flat brown pod. Height 10m Spread 6m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to southwestern and eastern Asia, from Azerbaijan east to China and Korea. It grows on dry plains, in sandy valleys and in uplands and can grow in extreme conditions, surviving down to -25oC.

Conservation status

The species is not classified as rare or threatened.

Uses

The tree's flower heads have been used for a wide range of digestive, sedative and tonic medicinal purposes. The bark is used to cure bruises and as a vermicide. The seeds are used as a food for livestock. The sweetly-scented flowers are a good nectar source for honeybees. The timber is used for furniture making. The species is also host to the lac insect which colonises its shoots and produces lac used in the manufacture of lacquer.

Planting pattern

A regular diamond grid.

Further reading

Polunin O. and Stainton A. (2010) Flowers of the Himalayas. Oxford Publishers.