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ALBIZIA GUMMIFERA*

DISTRIBUTION

A deciduous tree preferring forest margins and open forests throughout mountainous regions in Tanzania, from the coastal hills to Kilimanjaro and Kagera (RSCU 1992). It grows poorly in higher areas (Teel 1984). It also occurs as a small tree colonizing mixed thickets and woodlands.

Minimum Altitude (m):

0

Maximum Altitude (m):

2300

PROPAGATION

Means of Propagation: Direct sowing of seed or sowing the pod when fresh.

Seeds per kg:

12000

Seed Sources:

1200 TSH per kg - Silviculture Research Centre 1991/92.

Seed Treatments: Pods are pale brown, up to 1.8×2.5 cm in size. Fresh seeds need no pretreatment. Soak previously stored seeds in cold water. Information about seed pretreatment for A. lebbeck suggests pretreatment by soaking in concentrated sulphuric acid for 5 minutes or soaking in cold water for 48 hours (Parkash 1991). Seeds can be stored for up to a year.

Seedling Management: Collect seed while still on tree to avoid insect damage.

SILVICULTURE

Planting Types: As single trees or in clusters near habitations, in fields, pastures and wetlands and along water courses. In Malawi, farmers intercrop A. gummifera as a shade tree among their tea bushes (Palmer and Pitman 1972). It has high potential for agroforestry (IFS 1989).

Growth Factors: Promising growth was reported in Dodoma region. In Zimbabwe it was reported to be fast growing, strongly fire resistant, and only slightly sensitive to frost (Palmer and Pitman 1972).

Limitations to Planting: Confined mostly to temperate zones, and is sensitive to frost.

Management Systems: Regenerates under its own shade (Sommerlatte 1990). It has good lopping and coppicing ability when young.

IMPORTANT USES

Use #1: MEDICINE
Pods, roots, and bark are used for medicinal purposes.

Use #2: GENERAL PURPOSE WOOD
The wood is medium dense, fairly strong, straight-grained, and does not warp. It works easily but is not termite proof nor water resistant (Sommerlatte 1990). It is useful as a general purpose timber and is used to make beehives, mortars, water troughs, and boats.

Use #3: LAND IMPROVEMENT
A. gummifera is nitrogen fixing and can be used for soil stabilization. Its leaves form a good mulch and it is a good shade tree. It is recommended for alley farming systems, mixed cropping, and for plantation crop plantings with coffee and bananas.


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