Albizia julibrissin, Persian silk tree, pink silk tree, 20-1000 seeds
Albizia julibrissin, 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. The specific epithet julibrissin is a corruption of the Persian word gul-i abrisham (گل ابریشم) which means "silk flower".
Its leaves slowly close during the night and during periods of rain, the leaflets bowing downward; thus its modern Persian name shabkhosb (شبخسب) means "night sleeper". This tendency also explains the Chinese common name hehuan, which means "shut happy" and symbolizes a happy couple in bed. In Japan its common names are nemunoki, nemurinoki and nenenoki which all mean "sleeping tree".
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. The bark is dark greenish grey in colour and striped vertically as it gets older. The leaves are 20–45 cm (8–18 in) long and 12–25 cm (5–10 in) broad. The flowers are produced throughout the summer in dense inflorescences. 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), containing several seeds inside.
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. Although capable of surviving drought, growth will be stunted and the tree tends to look sickly. As such it should be given infrequent, deep watering 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 to rich red-tipped flowers, variants with cream or pale yellow flowers are also reported.
In the wild, the tree tends to grow in dry plains, sandy valleys, and uplands. Its seeds are numerous and they are fertile even over long periods of drought. The pods burst in strong winds, and the seeds carry over surprisingly long distances.
Because of its invasive tendencies and disease susceptibility, it is rarely recommended as an ornamental plant in the US, though it is still widely planted in parts of Europe.
Sowing time: all year round
Germination temperature: 20°C and above
Pre-Treatment: soak in hot water for 24 hours
Sowing mix: compost for seeds and cuttings
Water: keep moist
Germination time: 3-7 days
Germination Method: Sow indoors at any time. Prior to sowing soak seeds in hot (not boiling) water for 12-24 hours. Seeds should have swollen to 3 times their previous size. Any seeds which have not swollen can be scarified or chipped with a file and soaked briefly in cold water. Sow the seeds individually 10mm deep into compost. Germination should be fairly rapid but may take several months. After germination transplant into root trainers to avoid disturbing the tap root. Acclimatize and plant out after danger of frost has passed.
Good news about this flowering tree is it will flower on it second years grown from seeds!