Albizia lebbeck

Albizia lebbeck is a species of plant in the family Fabaceae, native to the Indian subcontinent and Myanmar.[1][2] It is widely cultivated and naturalised in other tropical and subtropical regions, including Australia. Common names in English include siris, Indian siris, East Indian walnut, Broome raintree, lebbeck, lebbek tree, frywood, koko and woman's tongue tree.[3] The latter name is a play on the sound the seeds make as they rattle inside the pods. Siris is also a common name of the genus Albizia.

Albizia lebbeck
Starr 080531-4752 Albizia lebbeck.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Clade: Mimosoid clade
Genus: Albizia
A. lebbeck
Binomial name
Albizia lebbeck

See Taxonomy


It is a tree growing to a height of 18–30 m tall with a trunk 50 cm to 1 m in diameter. The leaves are bipinnate, 7.5–15 cm long, with one to four pairs of pinnae, each pinna with 6–18 leaflets. The flowers are white, with numerous 2.5–3.8 cm long stamens, and very fragrant. The fruit is a pod 15–30 cm long and 2.5-5.0 cm broad, containing six to twelve seeds.[4]


Mimosa speciosa as described by Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin refers to Albizia lebbeck. The Mimosa speciosa of Carl Peter Thunberg, however, is Albizia julibrissin. The name Lebbeck is from the arabic word (لَبَّخ).

In Tamil Nadu , the tree is known as 'vaagai' as the ancient kings of the Sangam Age had worn the garland made by this flower to celebrate victory in battles , with the word 'vaagai' meaning 'victory' in Tamil.

In the West Indies and certain parts of South America this tree is known as a 'Shak Shak Tree' because of the sound the seeds make in the pod.


Its uses include environmental management, forage, medicine and wood. It is cultivated as a shade tree in North and South America.[5] In India and Pakistan, the tree is used to produce timber. Wood from Albizia lebbeck has a density of 0.55-0.66 g/cm3 or higher.[6]

Bark on a tree in Hong Kong

Even where it is not native, some indigenous herbivores are liable to utilize lebbeck as a food resource. For example, the greater rhea (Rhea americana) has been observed feeding on it in the cerrado of Brazil.[7]


Lebbeck is an astringent, also used by some cultures to treat boils, cough, to treat the eye, flu, gingivitis, lung problems, pectoral problems, is used as a tonic, and is used to treat abdominal tumors.[8] The bark is used medicinally to treat inflammation.[9] This information was obtained via ethnobotanical records, which are a reference to how a plant is used by indigenous peoples, not verifiable, scientific or medical evaluation of the effectiveness of these claims. Albizia lebbeck is also psychoactive.[10].It is also very effective in migraine.


The taxonomic history of A. lebbeck is somewhat convoluted. It was originally described by Carl Linnaeus as Mimosa lebbeck. In its original description the Mimosa lebbeck was a large Acacia tree that grew in Egypt.[11] George Bentham placed the species in its present genus, but other authors believed that the plant described by Linnaeus was the related Albizia kalkora as described by Prain (based on the Mimosa kalkora of William Roxburgh), and erroneously referred to this species as Albizia lebbeck. However, Francisco Manuel Blanco used Mimosa lebbeck to refer to Albizia retusa ssp. retusa. In addition, the specific epithet is occasionally misspelled lebbek.[12]

Junior synonyms are:[5]

  • Acacia lebbeck (L.) Willd.
  • Acacia macrophylla Bunge
  • Acacia speciosa (Jacq.) Willd.
  • Albizia latifolia B.Boivin
  • Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth. var. leucoxylon Hassk.
  • Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth. var. pubescens Haines
  • Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth. var. rostrata Haines
Albizia rostrata Miq. is Archidendron globosum.
  • Feuilleea lebbeck (L.) Kuntze
  • Inga borbonica Hassk.
  • Inga leucoxylon Hassk.
  • Mimosa lebbeck L.
  • Mimosa lebbek L. (orth.var.)
  • Mimosa sirissa Roxb.
  • Mimosa speciosa Jacq.
Mimosa speciosa Thunb. is Albizia julibrissin.
  • Pithecellobium splitgerberianum Miq.

Independently, there also exists a genus named Lebeckia, whose range is restricted to South Africa. It is also a legume, but a member of the Faboideae, a different legume subfamily.


  1. ^ a b Plummer, J. (2020). "Albizia lebbeck". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T18435916A18435924. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  2. ^ Lowry, J.B. & Seebeck, J. 1997 "The Potential for Tropical Agroforestry in Wood and Animal Feed Production". Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Indooroopilly, Queensland
  3. ^ "Albizia lebbeck". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  4. ^ Ali (1973)
  5. ^ a b ILDIS (2005)
  6. ^ Brown (1997)
  7. ^ Schetini de Azevedo et al. (2006)
  8. ^ Duke (2008)
  9. ^ Lowry et al.(1994)
  10. ^ Rätsch (2004)
  11. ^ Book: Voyages and Travels in the Levant in the Years 1749, 50, 51, 52, Containing Observations in Natural History, by Fredrik Hasselquist (died 1752), written originally in the Swedish language, published in 1757 by Carl Linnaeus (died 1778), published in English translation in 1766. It says Mimosa Lebbeck is a large Acacia tree of southern Egypt and is grown in northern Egypt in gardens. This botany item was also copied by Linnaeus into Linnaeus's own botany book.
  12. ^ USDA (1994), ILDIS (2005)


  • Ali, S.I. (1973): Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth.. In: Flora of Pakistan (Vol. 36: Mimosaceae). University of Karachi, Karachi. HTML fulltext
  • Brown, Sandra (1997): Appendix 1 - List of wood densities for tree species from tropical America, Africa, and Asia. In: Estimating Biomass and Biomass Change of Tropical Forests: a Primer. FAO Forestry Papers 134. ISBN 92-5-103955-0 HTML fulltext
  • Duke, James A. (2008): Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases - Albizia lebbeck. Retrieved 2008-FEB-23.
  • International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS) (2005): Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth.. Version 10.01, November 2005. Retrieved 2008-MAR-30.
  • Lowry, J.B.; Prinsen, J.H. & Burrows, D.M. (1994): 2.5 Albizia lebbeck - a Promising Forage Tree for Semiarid Regions. In: Gutteridge, Ross C. & Shelton, H. Max (eds.): Forage Tree Legumes in Tropical Agriculture. CAB Intemational. HTML fulltext
  • Rätsch, Christian (2004): Enzyklopädie der psychoaktiven Pflanzen, Botanik, Ethnopharmakologie und Anwendungen (7th ed.). AT Verlag. ISBN 3-85502-570-3
  • Schetini de Azevedo, Cristiano; Penha Tinoco, Herlandes; Bosco Ferraz, João & Young, Robert John (2006): The fishing rhea: a new food item in the diet of wild greater rheas (Rhea americana, Rheidae, Aves). Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 14(3): 285-287 [English with Portuguese abstract]. PDF fulltext

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