About 150 different species fall under the genus Albizia, commonly spelt albesia in Hawaii. Albizia trees are known as being one of the fastest-growing trees. Within four years of germination, some albizia trees will grow to an average height of 21 metres (70 feet) and have an approximate circumference of 90 to 210 mm (3 feet 7 inches). Due to its rapid growth rate, albizia wood is a frequently used product.
Albizia trees are large, deciduous trees with long trunks and umbrella-shaped, dull-green foliage. They can grow up to 98 feet high and have a light-grey bark. Most share similar characteristics, but some differences do exist between different species of albizia trees. The albizia julibrissin, commonly known as the Persina Silk Tree, is able to withstand temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit), unlike the albizia procera found in the tropics of India, which can only withstand temperatures of minus one degrees Celsius (plus 30 degrees Fahrenheit).
Different species of the albizia can be found around the world in the subtropical and tropical regions of India, Australia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and parts of Africa and South America. They are regarded as an invasive species in Hawaii and several other continental U.S. states. Due to its adaptability and drought resistance, the albizia tree has been able to establish itself in degraded areas with poor-quality soil.
Albizia wood is light in colour, soft and lightweight. The grain is usually straight and broadly or shallowly interlocked. This makes it difficult to saw. It has a short fibre length. An advantageous characteristic of the wood is its resistance to termites.
Uses Of albizia wood
Albizia wood is used in variety of ways depending on the species. Excluding fuel, it is used as beams, planks, boards and posts in general construction, packing crates and cases and in flooring and panelling. It can also be used to make furniture and the handles for tools. The wood is used for decorative carvings of animals, masks and jewellery boxes. Its pulp is suitable for paper production when mixed with a longer-fibered plant like bamboo.