Index | Search | Home

new crop Logo

Albizia falcataria (L.) Fosberg

Syn.: Albizia falcata (L.) Backer.
Albizia moluccana Riq.
Molucca Albizia

Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.

  1. Uses
  2. Folk Medicine
  3. Chemistry
  4. Description
  5. Germplasm
  6. Distribution
  7. Ecology
  8. Cultivation
  9. Harvesting
  10. Yields and Economics
  11. Energy
  12. Biotic Factors
  13. References


Timber tree, "one of the quickest-growing trees of Malaysia. It is highly regarded as shade tree, sometimes used for coffee shade. It has also been used to shade tea in Java, but its rapid growth may damage the tea during drought. It has been suggested as cover for mine spoil. The wood is described as soft but suitable for tea boxes. In Hawaii during the 1970's, about 1,000,000 board feet were rotary peeled and processed for core stock. It is used for matches, match boxes, packing cases, lightweight pallets, shelves and other general uses for certain grades of paper. It can substitute for pinewood as a pulping source. Pulp: The fiber averages 1.15 mm long with thin walls, giving it flexibility and good fiber to fiber bonding in paper. The soft, low-density wood is easy to chip and yields much pulp with relatively low chemical input. Because of its light color, only minimum bleaching is required to achieve a good white paper. The woods are nonsiliceous, usually light colored with some open pores, and produce a sawdust that may cause sneezing. The wide ranging roots are said to taint the water supply with their peculiar nauseous odor.

Folk Medicine

No data uncovered.


Mitchell and Rook (1979) report respiratory problems in people working with the wood.


Tall deciduous tree to 30 m tall, 1 m in diameter. Leaves alternate, bipinnate, 23–30 cm long, rufose pubescent, the pinnae 20–24, 5–10 cm long, each with 30–40 paired leaflets, sessile, obliquely oblong, 6–12 mm long, 3–5 mm broad, shortly acute. Panicles large, 20–25 cm long, lateral, the numerous flowers sessile, white, ca 10–12 mm long; the calyx 5-toothed, corolla 5-lobate, ca 6 mm long; stamens filiform, more than 12 mm long; ovary narrow, the style filiform. Pods 10–13 cm long, 2 cm wide, flat, acute, green, turning brown, papyraceous, dehiscent. Seeds 15–20 per pod, reniform to oblong, ca 6 mm long, brown (Little, 1983). Seed ca 46,000/kg.


Reported from the Indochina-Indonesia Center of Diversity, Molucca albizia, or cvs thereof, is reported to tolerate poor soils. With a superficial root system, it is subject to windthrow (Duke, 1978).


Native to the eastern islands of the Indonesian archipelago (Moluccas) and New Guinea, this species has been spread to Southeast Asia from Burma to the Philippines, and introduced locally in tropical Africa and America.


Tree seems to thrive on many soils, alluvial soils, laterites, sandy mining soil, and white sands. Ranging from Subtropical Moist to Wet through Tropical Moist to Wet Forest Life Zones, probably tolerates annual precipitation of 20 to 45 dm annual temperature of 20 to 28°C. Flowering in Dec.–Jan. in Sri Lanka. NAS (1979) says it needs at least 15 rainy days during the driest 4 months.


The hard seeds may require scarification. Trees can be closely spaced at 1,000–2,000 trees/ha so that trunk grows straight and the crown closes quickly, shading out weeds.


Growing fast enough to be considered a cash crop, it is harvested in the Philippines after 7 or 8 years, then every 8 years from the coppice. The wood is soft, light-colored and has a specific gravity of 0.30–0.35.

Yields and Economics

Trees 2 years old may attain 10 m height, 15 cm DBH, while 10-year old trees may attain 30 m and 60 cm. Young plantations have yielded mean annual increment of 25–40 m3/ha is more than 50 m3 wood/yr. However, a mean annual increment of 40 m3/yr is more likely in 8–12 yr rotations. Palit reports yield potential of 40 m3/yr at 3–5 yrs in North Bengal, assuming 50% Survival and establishment at 2 x 2 m.


In a 9-year old stand, the above ground biomass was 102 MT/ha, the leaf biomass was 1.6 MT, leaf litter ca 5.2 MT making up ca 62% of the total litter. Annual net productivity was ca 20 MT/ha, productivity worthy of investigation for energy potential, especially if the tree has a high rate of N-fixation. These data derive from a Mindanao site with annual precipitation ca 45 dm, annual temperature ca 27°C, elevation 50–100 m on reddish brown ratozol over andesite. In a head-on study, the Albizia biomass compares with 18 MT for Gmelina plantation and 14 MT/ha for dipterocarp forest (Kawahara et al, 1981). Annual stem increment was maximum in three-year old plantations, tapering off thereafter. Nodules of N-fixing bacteria occur on the roots. Reported yields run from 2.6–55 m3/ha/yr (Webb et al., 1980; Fenton et al., 1977).

Biotic Factors

On the Malayan Peninsula, the black lotong monkey (Semnopithecus) eats the shoot tips, sometimes to the extent of defoliating and killing the tree. The tree has been known to survive in the Asian weed, Imperata, but cannot be depended on to grow in thick lalang or kill out that grass. The tea pest, Helopeltis, can live on it. There have been frequent attacks by caterpillars, deer and monkey in Indonesian plantations adjacent to rainforests. Browne (1968), lists: Fungi. Armillaria mellea, Calonectria theae, Corticium salmonicolor, Fomes noxius, Ganoderma lucidum, G. pseudoferreum, Helicobasidium compactum, Irpex subvinosus, Macrophomina phaseoli, Nectria pulcherrima, Physalospora rhodina, Pleiochaeta albiziae, Poria hypolateritia, Thanatephorus cucumeris, Ustulina deusta. Acarina. Tetranychus telarius. Coleoptera. Hypomeces squamosus, Xyleborus fornicatus, Xylosandrus morigerus, Xystrocera globosa. Hemiptera Ferrisia virgata, Parthenolecanium persicae. Lepidoptera. Achaea janata, Ericeia inangulata, Hypanartia blanda, H. hecabe, Indarbela quadrinotata, Rhesala moestalis, Semiothisa emersaria, Zeuzera coffeae. Nematoda. Meloidogyne spp., Pratylenchus coffeae. Mammalia. Callosciurus notatus, Tupaia glis.


Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
Last update December 19, 1997