Albizia julibrissin Persian silk tree
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.
Persian silk trees generally live 10-20 years.
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.
The species is not classified as rare or threatened.
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.
A regular diamond grid.
Polunin O. and Stainton A. (2010) Flowers of the Himalayas. Oxford Publishers.