Albizia julibrissin, the Persian silk tree or pink silk tree, is a species of tree in the family Fabaceae, native to southwestern and eastern Asia.

The genus is named after the Italian nobleman Filippo degli Albizzi, who introduced it to Europe in the mid-18th century.It is sometimes incorrectly spelled Albizzia. The specific epithet julibrissin is a corruption of the Persian word gul-i abrisham which means "silk flower" (from gul flower" + abrisham "silk")

 

Albizia julibrissin is a small deciduous tree growing to 5–16 m (16–52 ft) tall, with a broad crown of level or arching branches.[3] The bark is dark greenish grey in colour and striped vertically as it gets older. The leaves are bipinnate, 20–45 cm (8–18 in) long and 12–25 cm (5–10 in) broad, divided into 6–12 pairs of pinnae, each with 20–30 pairs of leaflets; the leaflets are oblong, 1–1.5 cm (0.4–0.6 in) long and 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) broad. The flowers are produced throughout the summer in dense inflorescences, the individual flowers with small calyx and corolla (except the central ones), and a tight cluster of stamens 2–3 cm long, white or pink with a white base, looking like silky threads. They have been observed to be attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.The fruit is a flat brown pod 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long and 2–2.5 cm (0.8–1.0 in) broad, containing several seeds inside.

 

Original habitats of the tree include regions from Iran (Persia) and the Republic of Azerbaijan to China and Korea.[4]

A. julibrissin is widely planted as an ornamental plant in parks and gardens, grown for its fine leaf texture, flowers and attractive horizontal canopy. Other positive attributes are a fast growth rate, low water requirements and the ability to thrive planted in full sun in hot summer climates.[5] It is very frequently planted in semi-arid areas like California's Central Valley, central Texas and Oklahoma. Although capable of surviving drought, growth will be stunted and the tree tends to look sickly. As such it should be given infrequent, deep waterings during the summer, which will benefit growth and flowering.

The broad crown of a mature tree makes it useful for providing dappled shade. The flower colour varies from white in A. julibrissin f. alba, to rich red-tipped flowers. Variants with cream or pale yellow flowers are also reported. Other cultivars are becoming available: 'Summer Chocolate' has red foliage ageing to dark bronze, with pale pink flowers; 'Ishii Weeping' (or 'Pendula') has a drooping growth habit.

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