Description: A deciduous shrub or more commonly a tree, growing up to 8 m tall with a rounded crown.
Bark: rough, dark-brown and furrowed, young branchlets grey-brown.
Leaves: pinnae 4-46 pairs, leaflets 12-48 pairs, oblong to linear, thinly silky.
Flowers: fragrant, white or flushed pink, peduncles clustered at the nodes of short lateral branches.
Pods: papery, pale-brown, oblong, 10-28cm long and 2-4cm broad.
Flowering: trees can be found in flower' from April to August.
Occurs in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan southwards to Zambia and Zimbabwe. The subspecies Albizia amara amara occurs mainly in India and Sri Lanka and may have similar apicultural value.
The wood is widely used as fuel and for charcoal making. The wood is durable and suitable for construction work, farm implements, digging sticks and frames for huts.
Saponins are extracted from the roots and leaves. Tannins and gums are extracted from the bark.
It is a valuable tree for soil conservation measures. As with Acacia species, other plants near the tree benefit from the nitrogen fixing abilities of the roots. It is also soil-improving and provides mulch.
Leaves are browsed by livestock.
This attractive Albizia could be more widely grown as an ornamental tree and boundary marker.
In traditional medicine the roots are chewed and applied to an eye infection of cattle. Fruits are also used as an emetic and for treating coughs and malaria.
Propagation is carried out by direct sowing, seedlings, cuttings and wildlings. The tree coppices well.
[Bees for Development Journal #37]