Albizia lebbeck (Bekele-Tesemma, 2007)

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Albizia gummifera
Bekele-Tesemma, Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia, 2007
Albizia lebbeck (Bekele-Tesemma, 2007)
Albizia lophantha

Albizia lebbeck, Fabaceae, Tropical Asia (India, Burma, Andaman Islands)

Common names

  • English: East-Indian walnut, Siris tree, Woman’s tongue
  • Amargna: Lebbek
  • Gimirigna: Yoke
  • Wolaytgna: Shasho


Commonly planted in the tropics as a shade tree and naturalized in parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Introduced into Ethiopia in the Dry and Moist Kolla agroclimatic zones for roadside plantation and shade, especially in Dire Dawa (Hararghe). It is becoming naturalized in Shoa and other lowland areas. Roots are near the surface, so requires a high water table. The shallow roots make it liable to fall in storms. Prefers black‑cotton soil but will grow in a wide range of soils: acid, alkaline and saline.


Firewood, charcoal, poles, posts, timber (furniture, floors), medicine, fodder (leaves, pods), bee forage, shade, ornamental, mulch, nitrogen fixation, soil conservation, windbreak, tannin (bark), soap (bark).


A deciduous tree which may reach 25 m, usually 8–14 m; trunk often short, crown low and spreading.

  • BARK: Grey‑violet with rusty‑brown breathing pores.
  • LEAVES: Compound, 2–4 pairs of pinae, 3–11 pairs of leaflets, each oblong, tip rounded, usually 2–3 cm.
  • FLOWERS: Green‑yellow, fragrant brush heads on a stalk, short‑lived.
  • FRUIT: Shiny yellow‑brown pods in clusters decorate the tree for a long time, each pod up to 30 cm long, bulging over seeds, the seeds and pods “chatter” in the wind.


Seedlings, direct sowing at site. It can be propagated by use of stump cuttings too.


Seed collection from January to March. Seeds prolifically and seed germination is good. 5,000‑12,000 seed per kg.

  • Treatment: Immerse in hot water, allow to cool and soak for 24 hours.
  • Storage: Seed can be stored for a long time but prevent insect attack.


Fast growing on good sites; lopping, pollarding, coppicing, pruning. Produces root suckers from exposed roots.


Hard and heavy wood used for furniture. The tree is recommended in lowland areas to hold soil on stream banks and to mark farm boundaries.