Family: Mimosoideae / Mimosaceae
Womans tongue, Siris-tree, Rain tree, East Indian walnut, Kokko, Soros-tree, Raom tree
Origin: India, Burma and the Andaman Island
Albizia lebbeck, Mimosa lebbeck is a fast-growing tree, that is susceptible to wind damage. A moderate to large, deciduous tree can grow up to 100 feet high in rain forests. The tree develops a straight trunk when it is grown in dense forests, but is spreading and low branching in the open. Unless trimmed frequently,the trees will annually produce an abundance of seed from papery pods about 8″ long and 1″ wide (author). Common names such as “woman’s tongue” and “rattle pod” derive from the noise of pods shaking in the wind. The foliage is pale green when young and gray-green at maturity. Flowers are cream colored, hemispheric pom-poms. Seeds germinate well without scarification, but germination may be improved by immersing seed in boiling water for 3 seconds and then allowing it to cool and dry. Research has shown that seeds will germinate more readily if the seed coat is disrupted. This should be accomplished by either soaking the seeds in boiling water for three minutes followed by soaking in tap water for 24 hours or by soaking in tap water for 6 hours. The seeds should be sown at a depth of 1″. If necessary seeds should be inoculated with a rhizobium isolated from nodules taken from a mature A. lebbeck tree. Direct sowing is possible, but rows must be well-weeded for a few years. Another method is to raise seedlings in nursery beds for one year or more and then transplant them as stumps with about 9″ root and 5″ shoot. This would considerably reduce the field establishment period. The tree is used as a folk remedy for many ailments. Another common use is as an avenue tree, and sometimes it is used to shade coffee and tea. Saponins and tannins in the bark can be used for making soap and in tanning, respectively. Bee keepers like the species for the light-colored honey its nectar provides, and the tree hosts the lac insect.