Botanical descriptionA deciduous tree growing to a height of 5 to 12 metres. Bark is dark greenish grey in colour and striped vertically as it gets older. Bipinnate leaves 20-45 cm long and 12-25 cm broad, divided into 6-12 pairs of pinnae, each with 20-30 pairs of leaflets; the leaflets are oblong, 1-1.5 cm long and 2-4 mm broad. Fruits are flat brown pods 10-20 cm long and 2-2.5 cm broad, containing several seeds.
Cooked as a Vegetable
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the bark of Albizia julibrissin is known as hé hu?n pí and the flowers as hé hu?n hu?. Hé hu?n can be translated as "Collective Happiness". The plant is considered to be sweet and neutral. Both bark and flowers are traditionally used in China to treat insomnia, irritability, anxiety, emotional tension, and pain and swelling due to trauma.
A gummy extract obtained from the plant is used as a plaster for abscesses, boils etc and also as a retentive in fractures and sprains.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Seed - pre-soak 24 hours in hot water and sow March/April in a greenhouse or sow as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Germinates in 2 - 3 months at 19°c. Scarification helps. There are about 11,000 seeds to a pound, about 25 - 33% of which germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter or two outdoors[K]. Root cuttings, late winter in a greenhouse. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Suckers planted out in late winter.
Seed - pre-soak 24 hours in hot water and sow March/April in a greenhouse or sow as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Germinates in 2 - 3 months at 19°c. Scarification helps. There are about 11,000 seeds to a pound, about 25 - 33% of which germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter or two outdoors[K]. Root cuttings, late winter in a greenhouse.
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very sunny position. Succeeds in dry soils. Highly fertile soils can promote soft sappy growth which is frost tender. Trees tolerate a high pH, saline soils, high winds and drought. They also succeed in poor soils. Trees prefer a more continental climate than Britain and when dormant are hardy to about -20°c in such a zone. They are only hardy to about -10°c in the maritime climate of this country. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. They succeed on a sunny wall at Kew, and also in a more open but sunny sheltered position there[K], but only really succeed outdoors in the mildest areas of Britain. If killed back to the ground by a severe winter, plants can often resprout from the base. The form 'Rosea' is hardier and more compact, succeeding even in the drier parts of Britain if given some protection. Plants are quite tolerant of pruning and can be fan-trained for growing on a wall. Any pruning is best done in late winter or early spring. Often grown as a summer bedding plant. Quite tolerant of being transplanted. Plants often produce suckers. Plants can be coppiced.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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- [Albizia julibrissin] Wikipedia (2013/05/06)
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