Albizia lebbekoides (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Albizia lebbekoides (DC.) Benth.

Protologue: Hook. London J. Bot. 3: 89 (1844).
Family: Leguminosae
Chromosome number: 2n= 26


  • Pithecellobium myriophyllum Gagnep.

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: tarisi (Sundanese), kedinding, tekik (Javanese)
  • Burma (Myanmar): anya kokko
  • Malaysia: siris, koko
  • Philippines: haluganit (Tagalog), maganhop-sa-bukid (Bisaya), lariskis (Iloko)
  • Cambodia: châmri:ëk (Kampot), kântri"ëk (Kompong Thom)
  • Laos: khan hung, khang hung (Sedone)
  • Thailand: chamaree dong, chamaree pa (central), kang (northern, central)
  • Vietnam: câm trắng, sóng rǎń.

Origin and geographic distribution

A. lebbekoides is widely distributed in South-East Asia, where the species is found in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, southern Sulawesi, Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands. It has been collected once in Papua New Guinea.


In Java the bark is occasionally and locally used to tan hides and fishing nets. Moreover it provides a red dye, formerly used for colouring cloth and known as "soga tekik" in eastern Java. In the Philippines it is frequently used in the manufacture of a fermented drink made from sugar cane, just like the bark of Macaranga tanarius (L.) Muell. Arg., which also yields tannin. The timber is suited for indoor construction, and in Cambodia paddy mills are constructed from the wood. The bark is used medicinally just like many other tannin-yielding barks, e.g. as a remedy for colic in Cambodia. A. lebbekoides is sometimes planted as a shade tree.

Production and international trade

Production of bark and timber is exclusively for local use and production data are not known.


Information on properties is extremely limited. In an analysis of the bark of 10 trees from Java with a trunk diameter between 15 and 40 cm, the tannin content ranged between 12.5% and 17%. A tanning extract was prepared containing 67-74% tannin. It is known that the bark contains a toxic alkaloid.

The wood is dark brown, little attacked by insects, but is reported to season poorly.


  • A small to medium-sized tree, 8-15(-32) m tall, trunk up to 40(-80) cm in diameter; branches terete, glabrous, with greyish bark.
  • Leaves alternate, minutely stipulate, bipinnately compound with 5-13 cm long rachis provided with glands near base and top; petiole 2.5-6 cm long; pinnae in 3-8 pairs, with glandular axis, 5-15 cm long; leaflets (5-)15-25(-35) pairs per pinna, (narrowly) oblong, 6-20 mm × 2-6 mm, asymmetric and truncate at base, mucronate at apex, sessile.
  • Flowers in axillary up to 18 cm long panicles composed of 10-15-flowered heads; calyx narrowly campanulate, very small; corolla tubular, 3.5-5 mm long, 5-lobed; stamens numerous, 7-10 mm, filaments united into a tube; ovary superior, sessile and glabrous.
  • Fruit a strap-shaped dehiscent pod, 7-15(-20) cm × 1.5-2 cm, glabrous, chartaceous and dark brown.
  • Seeds up to 12 per pod, obovate or suborbicular, 4.5-7 mm × 3.5-5 mm × 1-1.5 mm, areolate.

Specimens aberrant with regard to the width of the pod (up to 2.8 cm), and the size of the leaflets (up to 27 mm × 14 mm) occur on the Lesser Sunda Islands, but no varieties are recognized.


A. lebbekoides occurs commonly in deciduous forests in dry localities, less commonly in savanna and evergreen forests. The species prefers open locations, such as forest margins, road-sides, along streams, and in forest clearings. More rarely it is found in shaded habitats. The species grows from sea-level to an altitude of 800 m, both on red volcanic soil and limestone.


Not much is known about the potential uses of this species. Long ago it was already being recommended as a source of tanning material. According to the results of provisional experiments the bark contains a fair amount of tannin, and extracts with a favourable tannin content can be prepared from it. However, the properties of the tannin and the quality of the leather produced with it are still obscure and warrant research.


  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink, R.C., 1963. Flora of Java. Vol. 1. Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. p. 553.
  • Brown, W.H., 1954. Useful plants of the Philippines. Reprint of the 1941-1943 ed. Vol. 2. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Technical Bulletin 10. Bureau of Printing, Manila. p. 88, fig. 36.
  • Nielsen, I., 1985. The Malesian species of Acacia and Albizia. Opera Botanica 81: 38-40, fig. 20.
  • Wind, R., 1924. Bijdrage tot de kennis van de plantaardige looimiddelen en het vraagstuk der looistofvoorziening van Nederlandsch-Indië [Contribution to the knowledge of vegetable tanning materials and the question of tannin supply in the Dutch East Indies]. Mededeelingen van het Proefstation voor het Boschwezen No 9. Departement van Landbouw, Nijverheid en Handel in Nederlandsch-Indië, Batavia. pp. 250-251.


J.M.C. Stevels