Albizia lebbeck

Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth.

Common Names: Woman’s Tongue, Whistling Bean, Singing Tree

Family: Fabaceae

Habit: Albizia lebbeck grows as a tree up to 20 m in height and 2 m in diameter.  The bipinnately compound leaves are arranged alternately, to 65 cm long with pinnae in 2 pairs, each with up to10 leaflets.  The leaflets are up to 10 pairs, oblong to obovate, with a rounded leaf apex and entire margin. There is a round, depressed gland at the base of each set of leaflets.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are in arranged in powder-puff ball heads. The calyx has 5 fused sepals forming a tube.  The corolla has 5 greenish fused petals forming a tube twice the length of the calyx.  There are numerous yellowish white stamens that are 7-10 times the length of the corolla.  The ovary is superior with a single locule.  The fruit is a flat, dry legume that turns brown at maturity up to 30 cm long and 5 cm wide.

Habitat: Albizia lebbeck grows in Human Altered environments (yards, roadsides, abandoned fields).

Distribution: Albizia lebbeck is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago.  It is native to the Indian subcontinent.  It has now spread to all tropical and pantropical areas of the world as an INVASIVE species.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Albizia lebbeck is not known to be used medicinally in the Bahamas.

It has been used as an ornamental species in yards but has now escaped cultivation.