Albizia procera (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
Introduction
List of species


Albizia procera (Roxb.) Benth.

Protologue: London Journ. Bot. 3: 89 (1844).
Family: Leguminosae - Mimosoideae
Chromosome number: 2n= 26

Synonyms

  • Mimosa procera Roxb. (1799),
  • Acacia procera (Roxb.) Willd. (1806),
  • Mimosa elata Roxb. (1832).

Vernacular names

  • Forest siris, white siris (Australian trade name), tall albizia (En)
  • Indonesia: ki hiyang (Sundanese), wangkal, weru (Javanese)
  • Malaysia: oriang
  • Papua New Guinea: brown albizia (En)
  • Philippines: akleng parang (Filipino)
  • Burma (Myanmar): kokko-sit, sit, sitpen
  • Cambodia: tramkâng', tri:ehs, tronum' kâmphé:m
  • Laos: 'tho:n
  • Thailand: suan (northern, north-eastern), thing thon (central)
  • Vietnam: muồng xanh.

Origin and geographic distribution

A. procera occurs naturally from India, throughout South-East Asia to northern Australia, extending northwards to southern China, including Hainan and Taiwan. It does not occur spontaneously in Peninsular Malaysia and has been collected only once in Borneo. It has been introduced into a number of African countries and into Panama and Puerto Rico.

Uses

A. procera is used for amenity planting, wind-breaks, fire-breaks and the rehabilitation of eroded and degraded soils. It is occasionally planted as a shade tree in tea and coffee.

A. procera is planted for fuelwood and gives excellent charcoal. The wood is used for agricultural implements, moulding, furniture, veneer, and cabinet work. It is also a substitute for walnut. On mountain slopes in Benguet Province in the Philippines the farmers leave A. procera trees untouched when clearing land for crops, as the trees cast only a light shade, add nitrogen to the soil and conserve water, and function as a cash reserve as the wood is sought after by local wood carvers. In India and Nepal the leaves are cut for fodder. In former times the bark provided tanning material. Low tannin content (13%), considerable weight loss in drying and difficult harvesting have limited its importance. The pounded bark is used as a fish poison. In Nepal the leaves are used as an insecticide.

Properties

Analysis of the mineral composition of leaves from two-year-old trees grown on an ultisol (pH 4.5) in South Sumatra indicated per 100 g dry material: N 1.76 g, P 0.08 g, K 1.07 g, Ca 0.66 g, Mg 0.28 g, Na 0.01 g, S 0.17 g. Digestibility analysis of this material gave: neutral detergent fibre 64%, acid detergent fibre 65%, ash 4%, lignin 42%, and lipids 5.5%. Under favourable conditions and intensive management in Puerto Rico higher values were found per 100 g dry matter: N 3.3 g, P 0.3 g, K 1.5 g. The amounts of nutrients immobilized in the trunk and branches were also high. The leaf has a high raw fibre and lignin content, indicating poor digestibility. Mineral content of the leaves for N, K, Ca, and Mg is adequate for animal production, but the Na and P contents are inadequate. Use for fodder is therefore recommended only in mixtures with other species. The oil content of the seed is about 7.5%. The weight of 1000 seeds is 30-60 g.

A large proportion of the stem is non-durable, straw-coloured to off-white sapwood. The heartwood is deep brown, hard and heavy, with an air-dry density of 640-880 kg/m3. It is fairly durable when exposed. The wood is diffuse-porous; growth rings are present but inconspicuous. Crystals are present. Energy value is 20 500-21 000 kJ/kg.

The wood is resistant to several species of termites, including Bifiditermes beesoni, Cryptotermes cynocephalus and Coptotermes curvignathus, though the latter is reported as a pest of the tree in India.

Description

  • Tree with an open canopy, up to 30 m tall with trunk of 35(-60) cm in diameter; bole straight or crooked, up to 9 m.
  • Bark smooth, pale grey-green, yellowish-green, yellowish-brown or brownish with horizontal ridges, sometimes flaking in thin, small scales, underbark green, changing to orange just below the surface, inner bark pinkish or straw-coloured.
  • Branchlets terete, glabrous.
  • Leaves bipinnate with 2-5 pairs of subopposite pinnae; rachis 10-30 cm, glabrous, with a gland 1-2.5 cm above the base; gland narrowly elliptical, 4-10 mm long, sessile, flat and disc-like or concave with raised margins; pinnae 12-20 cm long, glabrous, with elliptical glands below the junction of the 1-3 distal pairs of petiolules, 1 mm in diameter; petiolule 2 mm; leaflets 5-11 pairs per pinna, opposite, rigidly chartaceous to subcoriaceous, asymmetrically ovate to sub-rhomboid, 2-4.5(-6) cm × 1-2.2(-3.2) cm, base asymmetrical, half truncate, half cuneate, apex rounded or subtruncate, often emarginate, mucronate, both surfaces sparsely appressed puberulous, rarely glabrous above.
  • Inflorescence composed of pedunculate glomerules collected in an axillary, sparsely puberulous panicle up to 30 cm long; peduncle (0.8-)1.5-2(-3) cm long, 2-5 together.
  • Flowers 15-30 per glomerule, sessile, uniform (central flowers usually larger than marginal ones), bisexual, pentamerous; calyx tubular to narrowly funnel-shaped, 2.5-3 mm, glabrous, light green, teeth triangular, 0.75-1.2 mm, acute; corolla funnel-shaped, 6-6.5 mm long, greenish-white, tube glabrous, with elliptical lobes of 2-2.5 mm, acute, puberulous at the apex; stamens numerous, united at the base into a tube that is longer than the corolla tube; ovary glabrous.
  • Pod straight, flat, chartaceous, 11.5-20 cm × 2-2.5 cm, glabrous, dark or red-brown, with distinct marks over the seeds, dehiscent.
  • Seed flattened obovoid-ellipsoid, 7.5-8 mm × 4.5-6.5 mm × 1.5 mm; areole 4.5 mm × 3 mm with pleurogram nearly parallel to the margins of the seed.
  • Seed with epigeal germination.

Growth and development

Though reported to be moderately fast-growing, having a mean annual increment in diameter of 1-4 cm and reaching 40-60 cm diameter at breast height in 30 years in northern India, performance has been very poor in trials in the Philippines (33.8 cm after 3 years) and on ultisols in South Sumatra (less than 1 m after 2 years). During the dry season the tree becomes almost leafless for a short time. In India, flowering starts around June after the onset of the monsoon, ripening of the pods takes approximately 8 months. Elsewhere, it is reported to flower and fruit throughout the year.

The tree can be heavily pruned or pollarded to give a bushy crown. A. procera fixes atmospheric nitrogen.

Ecology

A. procera is commonly found in open secondary forest and in areas with a pronounced dry season. Its habitat ranges from monsoon forest, savanna, pyrogenic grassland, roadsides, dry gullies, to stunted, seasonal swamp forest. It occurs up to 1500 m altitude in the tropics and up to 1200 m in the subtropics. Planting at higher elevations is limited by its susceptibility to frost.

The mean annual rainfall is 1700 mm, ranging from 500 mm to 3000 mm, the annual mean minimum temperature is 21 °C and annual mean maximum temperature is 32 °C. In its natural range in Australia the mean minimum temperature of the coldest month is 11-19 °C, the mean maximum temperature of the hottest month 31-34 °C. It grows well on shallow soils with a pH of 5.5-7.5, and has a moderate light requirement. In the absence of burning it will colonize alang-alang (Imperata cylindrica (L.) Raeuschel) grassland.

Propagation and planting

Freshly harvested seed has a germination rate of 90-100%, dropping to below 50% after storage. The seeds retain their viability at least one year. Soaking seed that has been stored for 4-5 months in boiling water for 5 seconds, immediately removing them from direct heat and then soaking them in tap water overnight doubled the germination percentage. In the dry season seed is sown in nursery beds in drills 20 cm apart, at 5 cm spacing and lightly covered. Direct sowing in the field has proved more successful than transplanting from a nursery, provided regular weeding and loosening of the soil is carried out; line-sowing facilitating weeding has given greatest success. Transplanting of 1-year-old seedlings can be done in the rainy season, preferably during wet weather, with or without pruning.

A. procera can be propagated quite successfully by stumps and stem or root cuttings provided that the peaks of the rainy and the dry season are avoided. It may produce root suckers when damaged.

Spacing at 2-3 m × 0.5 m in pure stands gives closure of the canopy in about 3 years. Trees which are suppressed in dense stands will die as a result of lack of light.

Husbandry

Due to the light crown, regular weeding and control of the undergrowth are required. Therefore, A. procera is often mixed with other species and planted at a spacing of 3 m × 1 m. Mixed planting and pruning in open stands can improve stem form. Thinning is necessary after 9 years.

Diseases and pests

A. procera trees in India and Malaysia have sometimes been defoliated by larvae of Lepidoptera species such as Rhesala imparata, R. inconcinnalis and R. moestalis. In Africa the termite Ancistrotermes amphidon is a serious pest on young trees.

Yield

Annual wood production of about 10 m3 per ha has been recorded from Java. A 4-year trial on an ultisol of pH 4.5 at Nakau, South Sumatra showed a very low growth rate when compared to Leucaena leucocephala (Lamk) de Wit, Acacia mangium Willd., and Paraserianthes falcataria (L.) Nielsen. Harvesting of stem and leaves above 1 m height yielded 0.10 and 0.69 kg of wood (fresh weight per tree 36 and 50 months after transplanting of seedlings respectively), and 1.1 kg of dry leaves after 50 months.

Prospects

Since A. procera grows moderately fast in areas with poor, seasonally swampy, shallow soils and a long dry season and provides good quality wood and excellent charcoal, its potential as an alternative timber and fuelwood species should be further explored. The poor digestibility of its leaves make its usefulness as a fodder questionable.

Literature

  • Blair, G.J., Panjaitan, M., Ivory, D.A., Palmer, B. & Sudjadi, M., 1988. An evaluation of tree legumes on an acid ultisol in South Sumatra, Indonesia. Journal of Agricultural Science 111(3): 435-442.
  • Browne, F.G., 1968. Pests and diseases of forest plantation trees. Clarendon Press, Oxford, United Kingdom. p. 1027.
  • Chauhan, A.N., Bhatt, D.N., Mishra, C.M. & Singh, S.L., 1986. Root development in some species on usar soils. Journal of Tropical Forestry 2: 119-130.
  • Chauhan, L. & Dayal, R., 1985. Wood anatomy of Indian Albizias. IAWA (International Association of Wood Anatomists) Bulletin, (new series) 6: 213-218.
  • Danimihardja, S., Saefudin, F., Syarif, F. & Setyowati-Indarto, N., 1988. Pertumbuhan beberapa jenis Leguminosa tumbuh-cepat di lapangan setelah semainya diinokulasi dengan Rhizobium [The growth of some fast-growing legume species in the field after seedling inoculation with Rhizobium]. Berita Biologi 3: 377-381.
  • Nielsen, I.C., 1992. Mimosaceae. (Leguminosae - Mimosoideae). Albizia. In: de Wilde, W.J.J.O., Nooteboom, H.P. & Kalkman, C. (Editors): Flora Malesiana. Series 1, Vol. 11. Foundation Flora Malesiana, Leiden, the Netherlands. pp. 64-86.
  • Penafiel, S.R. & Botengan, H.P., 1985. Indigenous agroforestry in Benguet: starting point for research and development. Canopy International 11: 1, 8-9.
  • Rajhkowa, S., 1965. A short note on planting trials with Albizzia procera. Indian Forester 91(12): 845-847.
  • Tumalian, B.T., 1985. Species and provenance trial of selected fuelwood species. Sylvatrop 10(1): 34-48.

Authors

  • J.L.C.H. van Valkenburg