1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Genus: Albizia Durazz.
      1. Albizia adianthifolia (Schumach.) W.Wight

        Albizia adianthifolia is an African and Madagascan member of the pea and bean family (Leguminosae/Fabaceae). Like other Albizia species, it readily colonises any clearing and grows rapidly in its early years (about 2 m per year). Flat-crown albizia lives in association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, which penetrate its root cells in a mutually beneficial relationship that contributes to the rapid growth of the tree. The roots also have nitrogen-fixing nodules containing Bradyrhizobium bacteria.

    [FTEA]

    Leguminosae, J. B. Gillett, R. M. Polhill & B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1971

    Habit
    Tree 4–30 m. high; crown flattened; bark grey to yellowish-brown and rough (rarely smooth in our area).
    Branches
    Young branchlets densely, rather coarsely and persistently rusty- to fulvous-pubescent.
    Leaves
    Leaves:pinnae 5–8 pairs (rarely only 3 on occasional reduced leaves), each pinna more or less narrowing upwards; leaflets of 2 distal pairs of pinnae 9–17 pairs, obliquely rhombic-quadrate or -oblong, mostly about 7–17(–20) mm. long and 4–9(–11) mm. wide; proximal margin at base usually more or less rounded into the pulvinus but not auriculate; apex of leaflet usually obtuse and mucronate, sometimes subacute, surface of leaflet thinly pubescent above, rather plentifully pubescent all over beneath, raised venation beneath close.
    Stipules
    Stipules and bracts at base of peduncles ovate, about 5–12 mm. long and 3–6(–8) mm. wide.
    Inflorescences
    Peduncles clothed as the young branchlets; bracteoles variably persistent, linear-spathulate to oblanceolate, 5–8 mm. long, exceeding the flower-buds.
    Flowers
    Flowers subsessile; pedicels pubescent, 0.5–1 mm. long.
    Calyx
    Calyx 2.5–4 (rarely only 2) mm. long, pubescent outside.
    Corolla
    Corolla 6–11 mm. long, pubescent outside, white or greenish-white.
    Stamens
    Staminal tube exserted about 1.3–2 cm. beyond corolla, red to wholly greenish or pink.
    Fruits
    Pod oblong, flat or slightly transversely plicate, 9–19 cm. long, 1.9–3.2 (–? 4) cm. wide, more or less densely and persistently pubescent, not glossy, prominently venose, usually pale brown.
    Seeds
    Seeds 7–9.5 mm. long, 6.5–8.5 mm. wide, flattened.
    Figures
    Figs. 21/6–9, p. 159, & 22/2, p. 163.
    [FZ]

    Leguminosae, J.P.M. Brenan. Flora Zambesiaca 3:1. 1970

    Habit
    Tree (2·5)4-30 m. high; crown flattened; bark grey to yellowish-brown and rough (rarely smooth in our area); young branchlets densely rather coarsely and persistently rusty- to fulvous-pubescent; pubescence sometimes becoming grey as the branchlet ages.
    Leaves
    Leaves: pinnae 5-8 pairs (rarely only 3 on occasional reduced leaves), each pinna ± narrowing upwards; leaflets of 2 distal pairs of pinnae (8)9-17 pairs, mostly c. 7-17(24) x 4-9(15) mm., obliquely rhombic-quadrate or -oblong; proximal margin at base usually ± rounded into the pulvinus but not auriculate; apex of leaflet usually obtuse and mucronate, sometimes subacute, surface of leaflet thinly pubescent above, rather plentifully pubescent all over beneath, raised venation beneath close.
    Stipules
    Stipules and bracts at base of peduncles c. 5-12 x 3-6(8) mm., ovate.
    Inflorescences
    Peduncles clothed as the young branchlets; bracteoles variably persistent, 5-8 mm. long, exceeding the flower-buds, linear-spathulate to oblanceolate.
    Flowers
    Flowers subsessile; pedicels pubescent, 0·5-1(2) mm. long.
    Calyx
    Calyx 2·5-5 (rarely only 2) mm. long, pubescent outside.
    Corolla
    Corolla 6-11 mm. long, white or greenish-white, pubescent outside.
    Stamens
    Staminal tube exserted c. 1·3-2.5 cm. beyond the corolla, red to wholly greenish or pink.
    Fruits
    Pod dehiscent, 9-19 x 1·9-3·4(4·3) cm., usually pale brown, oblong, flat or slightly transversely plicate, ± densely and persistently pubescent, not glossy, prominently venose.
    Seeds
    Seeds 7-9·5 x 6·5-8·5 mm., flattened.
    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description

    Albizia adianthifolia is an African and Madagascan member of the pea and bean family (Leguminosae/Fabaceae). Like other Albizia species, it readily colonises any clearing and grows rapidly in its early years (about 2 m per year). Flat-crown albizia lives in association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, which penetrate its root cells in a mutually beneficial relationship that contributes to the rapid growth of the tree. The roots also have nitrogen-fixing nodules containing Bradyrhizobium bacteria.

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Found in tropical and southern humid Africa, flat-crown albizia also occurs in eastern Madagascar.

    It grows in a wide range of soil types, most often occurring on sandy soils and usually between 250–600 m, though it can occur up to 1,700 m above sea level.

    It usually grows in evergreen forest, deciduous woodland, wooded grassland, secondary vegetation, remnant miombo woodland among cultivated fields and along the banks of streams.

    Description

    Overview: A tree up to 35 m tall, with a slightly buttressed trunk up to 95 cm in diameter. The bark is grey to yellowish-brown and fairly smooth or sometimes roughish (likened by some to crocodile skin).

    Leaves: Up to 20 cm long, resembling fronds of the fern genus Adianthum , from which the species takes its name ( adianthifolia ). The stipules (leaf-like appendages) are relatively large, 7.0 mm long and 2.5 mm wide, lanceolate and readily detach from the plant. The petioles (leaf stalks) are densely hairy and have a gland (extra-floral nectary) near the base.

    Flowers: Reddish or greenish white, bisexual and almost sessile (lacking a flower stalk), aggregated into stalked heads. The petals are partly fused into a 5–9 mm long tube, which is hairy on the outside. The red to pink or greenish stamens (male parts) are numerous, 3–4 cm long (and thus protrude a long way from the tube formed by the petals), and are united into a tube for most of their length, although the tips are free and presented like an open fan. The long staminal tubes suggest that it is pollinated by butterflies or moths. At least two butterflies – the blue spotted charaxes ( Charaxes cithaeron ) and the satyx charaxes ( C. ethalion ) – have been reported to breed on it in the Natal province of South Africa.

    Fruits: A flat pod 9.0–19.0 × 2.0–3.5 cm, covered in dense but fine hairs, with a stipe (stalk) about 5 mm long. The fruit is pale brown when ripe and opens along the margin exposing 7–10 seeds.

    Similar species

    Albizia adianthifolia is frequently confused with Albizia gummifera , which differs in its almost hairless leaflets and hairless pods. However, almost hairless plants of Albizia adianthifolia have also been recorded, and more research is needed to confirm the separation of the two species. Possible hybrids have been recorded from Malawi and Mozambique.

    Threats and conservation

    Albizia adianthifolia has been recorded as common in its natural habitat, and although it is used in many different ways, it is not currently threatened by over-exploitation. It is sometimes even considered an aggressive colonizer. There are no known conservation measures specifically for flat-crown albizia, but it occurs in many protected areas. Samples of seeds are stored in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank as an ex situ conservation measure.

    Conservation assessments carried out by Kew

    Albizia adianthifolia is being monitored as part of the IUCN Sampled Red List Index for Plants project, which aims to produce conservation assessments for a representative sample of the world’s plant species. This information will then be used to monitor trends in extinction risk and help focus conservation efforts where they are needed most.

    Uses

    Albizia adianthifolia is often used for firewood and making charcoal. It is also planted as a shade tree for crops such as cocoa and tea and for soil improvement and conservation, as it produces a deep and expansive rooting system and protects crops from the sun. The leaves are boiled to make a drink, and the bark is cooked with food in Madagascar. Its sweet-smelling gum or resin is used in cosmetics in some African countries.

    The roots, bark and young shoots are widely used in traditional medicine. The bark is poisonous but is used medicinally by the Zulu of South Africa who also sometimes make a love charm from the plant. They also prepare an infusion (hot or cold) from the bark and roots to treat skin diseases such as scabies. A cold extract from the roots alone is applied to inflamed eyes. In Mozambique, the bark is used in a remedy for bronchitis. Sap from the fresh bark is used in Congo (Brazzaville) to kill filaria in the eye mucosa and is also administered for conjunctivitis, the latter apparently being a painful treatment.

    There are at least 70 local names for the whole plant or fruits, seeds and products made from it.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

    Two collections of Albizia adianthifolia seeds are held in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank based at Wakehurst in West Sussex.

    Cultivation

    Seeds should be collected from pods that are still attached to the tree to reduce damage by bruchids (seed boring beetles) and should be dried immediately after collection. Seeds can be stored for up to 3 months if ash is added to reduce insect damage. Experiments in Ghana have shown that Albizia adianthifolia can be successfully propagated vegetatively by root cuttings. Seedlings require strong light in order to become established in the wild.

    This species at Kew

    Dried and alcohol-preserved specimens of Albizia adianthifolia are held in Kew’s Herbarium where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details of some of these, including some images, can be seen online in Kew’s Herbarium Catalogue.

    Specimens of bark and wood from flat-crown albizia are held in Kew’s Economic Botany Collection, where they are available to researchers, by appointment.

    Distribution
    Congo-Brazzaville, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa
    Ecology
    Evergreen forest, deciduous woodland, wooded grassland or in secondary vegetation.
    Conservation
    Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria.
    Hazards

    The bark is reported to be poisonous.

    [FWTA]

    Mimosaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:2. 1958

    Habit
    A tree, to 120 ft. high, mainly in regrowth forest
    Flowers
    Flowers greenish-white with reddish staminal tube.
    [KSP]
    Use
    Ornamental, shade tree, medicine, resin, timber, cosmetics, erosion control and soil improvement.

    Images

    Distribution

    Found In:

    Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Central African Repu, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Common Names

    English
    Flat-crown albizia

    Albizia adianthifolia (Schumach.) W.Wight appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status
    Jul 1, 2007 Tchiengue, B. [2635], Cameroon K000437460
    Jan 1, 2003 Messmer, N. [571], Madagascar K000387226
    Jul 1, 2001 Cheek, M. [8110], Cameroon K000108286
    Jul 1, 2001 Mackinder, B. [169], Cameroon K000108247
    Jul 1, 2001 Etuge, M. [1538], Cameroon K000108248
    Jul 1, 2001 Cheek, M. [7152], Cameroon K000108249
    Jul 1, 2001 Nwaga, D. [3], Cameroon K000108250
    Jan 1, 1993 Gereau, R.E. [5003], Tanzania K000387254
    Feb 1, 1980 Reekmans, M. [4927], Burundi K000387274
    Feb 1, 1980 Reekmans, M. [9473], Burundi K000387275
    May 4, 1950 unknown [16] K000244460
    Apr 6, 1950 Swynnerton, C.F.M. [52], Zimbabwe K000244538
    Apr 6, 1950 Swynnerton, C.F.M. [52], Zimbabwe K000244539 Unknown type material
    Apr 6, 1950 Welwitsch [s.n.], Angola K000244540
    Apr 6, 1950 Welwitsch [s.n.], Angola K000244542
    Apr 6, 1950 Drege [s.n.], South Africa K000244549 syntype
    Apr 6, 1950 Krauss [300], South Africa K000244550
    Apr 6, 1950 Krauss [300], South Africa K000244551
    Apr 6, 1950 Krauss [300], South Africa K000244552
    Apr 5, 1950 Burtt, B.D. [2894], Uganda K000387255
    Apr 5, 1950 Eggeling [679], Uganda K000387256
    Apr 4, 1950 Andoh, J.E. [4165], Ghana K000387227
    Apr 4, 1950 Deighton, F.C. [4096], Sierra Leone K000387237
    Apr 4, 1950 Whyte, A. [s.n.], Liberia K000387240
    Apr 1, 1950 Thomas [3978], Uganda K000387257
    Dowsett-Lemaire, F. [2509], Mozambique K000614124
    Mann [830], South Africa K000244461
    Thonning [s.n.], Ghana K000244462 Unknown type material
    Brunt, M. [200], Cameroon K000093009
    Timberlake, J. [4922], Mozambique K000545272
    Timberlake, J. [5054], Mozambique K000613433
    Daramola, B.O. [45656], Nigeria K000459775
    Harley, R.M. [9377], Tanzania 6970.000
    Onochie, C.F.A. [40427], Nigeria K000459776
    Innes, R. [30557], Ghana K000387228
    Punch [128], Nigeria K000459777
    Ern, H. [3117], Togo K000387229
    Ejiofor, M.C. [27674], Nigeria K000459778
    Ern, H. [2744], Togo K000387230
    Chapman, J.D. [4824], Nigeria K000459780
    Daramola, B.O. [1116], Nigeria K000387231
    Olorunfemi, J. [31915], Nigeria K000387232
    Merello, M. [1639], Ghana K000387233
    s.coll. [53848], Gambia K000387234
    s.coll. [1985], Guinea-Bissau K000387235
    s.coll. [1626], Guinea-Bissau K000387236
    Morton [3968], Sierra Leone K000387238
    Baldwin, J.T. [11237], Liberia K000387239
    Baldwin, J.T. [11332], Liberia K000387241
    Hepper, F.N. [7970], Côte d'Ivoire K000387242
    Chevalier [17307], Côte d'Ivoire K000387243
    s.coll. [3437], Mozambique K000387244
    Webster [s.n.], Mozambique K000387245
    Barbosa, G. [5159], Mozambique K000387246
    Gomes, A. [4599], Mozambique K000387247
    Lye, K.A. [23147], Uganda K000387248
    Perdue, R.E. [8504], Tanzania K000387249
    Greenway, P.J. [1494], Tanzania K000387250
    Greenway, P.J. [2733], Tanzania K000387252
    Faden, R.B. [623], Kenya K000387258
    Troupin, G. [2880], Rwanda K000387259
    Troupin, G. [5318], Rwanda K000387260
    Sousa, G. [2039], Mozambique K000387261
    Sousa, G. [1965], Mozambique K000387262
    Sousa, G. [1666], Mozambique K000387263
    Brenan, J.P.M. [9124], Nigeria 11433.000
    Wild, H. [4332], Zimbabwe K000387264
    Chase, N.C. [7857], Zimbabwe K000387265
    Loveridge, J.P. [763], Zambia K000387266
    Fanshawe, D.B. [10091], Zambia K000387267
    s.coll. [8789], Angola K000387268
    Chapman, E.G. [8081], Malawi K000387270
    Gathy, A.L. [2142], Congo, DRC K000387271
    Wagemans, F. [160], Congo, DRC K000387272
    Troupin, G. [20681], Congo, DRC K000387273
    Reekmans, M. [9238], Burundi K000387276
    Wilde, J.J.F.E. de [7944], Cameroon K000387277
    Bosch, C.H. [8679], Cameroon K000387278
    Bosch, C.H. [8971], Cameroon K000387279
    Hart, T.B. [217], Congo, DRC K000387280
    Timberlake, J. [5182], Mozambique K000613562
    Schrire, B.D. [2534], Madagascar 61082.000
    Schrire, B.D [2534], Madagascar K000724007
    Timberlake, J. [5285a], Mozambique K000614047
    Schrire, B.D [2534], Madagascar K000724043

    First published in Bull. Bur. Pl. Industr. U.S.D.A. 137: 12 (1909)

    Accepted in:

    • [1] Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015) The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan . Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [2] Kalema, J. & Beentje, H. (2012) Conservation checklist of the trees of Uganda . Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [3] (2010) Taxonomania 30: 1-307
    • [5] (2008) Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria
    • [7] (2006) Garcia de Orta, Série de Botânica 17: 97-141
    • [8] Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006) Flore Analytique du Bénin . Backhuys Publishers
    • [9] Sita, P. & Moutsambote, J.-M. (2005) Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Congo , ed. sept. 2005: 1-158. ORSTOM, Centre de Brazzaville
    • [10] (2003) Strelitzia 14: 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria
    • [11] Du Puy, D.J., Labat, N.-N., Rabevohitra, R., Villiers, J.-F., Bosser, J. & Moat, J. (2002) The Leguminosae of Madagascar . Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [13] Govaerts, R. (1995) World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 529. MIM, Deurne
    • [15] Lock, J.M. (1989) Legumes of Africa a check-list . Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    • [16] (1970) Flora Zambesiaca 3(1): 1-153. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

    Literature

    • [4] Contu, S. (2009). Albizia adianthifolia. Sampled Red List Index (SRLI) Project. Assessment using IUCN Categories and Criteria 3.1 (IUCN 2001). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • [6] Krige, A. (2007). Albizia adianthifolia.
    • [12] Burkill, H. M. (1995). The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa, Volume 3 (J–L). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • [14] Bisby, F. A., Buckingham, J. & Harborne, J. B. (1994). Phytochemical Dictionary of the Leguminosae. Chapman & Hall, London.
    • [17] Keay in Flora of West Tropical Africa, ed. 2, 1: 502, fig. 160 (1958).
    • [18] Torre in Consp. Fl. Angol. 2: 295 (1956).
    • [19] Brenan in Kew Bulletin 1952: 520 (1953).
    • [20] Brenan in Kew Bull. 1952: 520 (q.v. for synonymy)
    • [21] Gilb. & Bout. in Flore du Congo Belge et du Ruanda-Urundi, 3: 178 (1952).
    • [22] Gilbert & Boutique in Fl. Congo Belge 3: 178.
    • [23] W.J. Eggeling, Indigenous Trees of the Uganda Protectorate, ed. 2: 217 (1952).
    • [24] W. F Wight. in U.S. Dept. Agric. Bur. Pl. Industry, Bull. 137: 12 (1909).
    • [25] in U.S. Dept. Afric. Bur. Pl. Industry, Bull. 137: 12 (1909)

    Sources

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
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    Flora Zambesiaca
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    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2017). Published on the internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp
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    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
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