Albizia jublibrissin

Botanical Name

Albizia julibrissin Durazz. [3]


Acacia julibrissin (Durazz.) Willd.
Acacia nemu Willd.
Albizia nemu (Willd) Benth.
Feuilleea julibrissin (Durazz.) Kuntze
Mimosa julibrissin (Durazz.) Scop.
Mimosa arborea
Mimosa speciosa Thunb. [10]



Vernacular Names

English Silk Tree, Powder Puff tree, Mimosa, Silky Acacia
China He-huan
Hong KOng Hup-foon
Japan Nemunoki
Korea Ja-gwi-na-mu
Persian Gul-i abrisham [3] [4] [6]


Albizia julibrissin is a member of the Fabaceae family. It is a small deciduoud tree which can reach up to 12 m high. It has a broad crown of level and arching branches. The bark is dark greenish grey in colour and striped vertically as it ages. The leaves are tripinnate, 20–45cm long and 12–25cm broad, divided into 6–12 pairs of pinnae, each with 20–30 pairs of leaflets. Each leaflet is oblong, 1.0–1.5cm long and 2–4mm broad. The flowers are in dense inflorescences. The individual flowers are devoid of petals but a tight cluster of stamens 2–3cm long, white or pink with a white base, giving the appearance of silky threads. The fruit is a flat brown pod 10–20cm long and 2.0–2.5cm broad, containing several seeds. [3], [10]


In the subtropical belt extending from Northern Iran and Afghanistan through the Himalayas in Northern India and Nepals, and into China and Japan.[4]

Plant Use

Landscape. The bark or cortex of A. julibrissin is used medicinally as a cure for bruises and as a vermicide.[5] In China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea this plant has medicinal values. The bark is dried, boiled and the decoction is used to treat insomnia, pruritus, scrofula, traumatic injuries, anthelmintic, coughing and sputum, sprains, articular pain and lumbago. The decoction of the flower is used to treat insomnia, chest congestion, conjunctivitis, sore throat and traumatic injuries.[6]

Toxic Parts

Green or mature pods, seeds and wood.



The legume (bean) contains a neurotoxic alkaloid that is responsible for the neurological signs and symptoms and is thought to act as a pyridoxine (vitamin b6) antagonist. The poisoning occurs when the trees with green or mature pods are made available to sheep, cattle or dogs. [2]

Risk Management

In recent years this plant has been seen to be a popular element in local landscape. Parks and home gardens are planted with this plant for the beautiful red flowers. The disturbing effects on animals especially domestic animals should make us wary of the plants especially when there are children around the place. The poisoning reported in Iran is an indication of the possible poisoning incidence amongst children if it is not condoned. [10]

A. julibrissin is highly invasive and can colonize an area in a short period of time. Once established it is difficult to control because of the long lived seeds which germinate easily and readily. They resprout vigorously after cutting off and can be a strong competitor for sunlight and nutrients for native species. [3]

Clinical Findings

Clinical signs of intoxication can be observed within hours of ingestions. These signs include seizures, tremors, staggering gait, convulsions, and laboured breathing in some cases. Affected animals include sheep, goats, and cattle.[1]

In the study on the toxic effects of A. julibrissin was recorded that the lethal dose was > 15g/kg and the toxic dose was 10–15 g/kg. The symptoms begin to appear 12–14 hours after administration of the toxic dose. Initially there was exaggerated response to tactile, auditory and visual stimuli. This is followed by muscular twitching lasting for several minutes. Sever signs include convulsive seizures, backing-up or turning, torticolis, opisthotonus, collapses, outstretched forelimbs and paddling hind limbs. Seizures lasted 2 minutes followed by quiescence in the lateral and then sternal positions.[7]

The pollens can be a cause of hay fever to sensitive individuals. [8]

There was a report of three children presenting with A. julibrissin poisoning at the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences’s Medical Toxicology Research Centre in November 2010. The children were observed to have decrease level of consciousness after 20 minutes of ingestion. They subsequently went into Coma lasting between 6–7 hours. They become conscious after this period without any residual neurological sequellae. [9]


Robinson et al found that administration of pyridoxine or pyridoxine HCl counteracted the effects of the neurotoxic alkaloids by quickly relieving seizures. [1]


  1. Plant Biology. Poisonous Plants of Georgia. [Cited on 2012 March 3rd]. Available from:
  2. Ecosystem Science and Management. Plants of Texas Rangelands. [Cited on 2012 March 3rd]. Available from:
  3. Marie Harrison. Flowering Shrubs and Small Trees for the South. Pineapple Press, Sarasota; 2009 p. 20.
  4. Susan L. Woodward, Joyce A. Quinn. Encyclopedia of Invasive Species: From Africanized Honey Bees to Zebra Mussels. ABC-CLIO, LLC Santa Barbara; 2011 p. 572.
  5. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs: An Essential Guide to Trees and Shrubs of the World (Mobi Reference)  Mobile Reference; 2008.
  6. Takeatsu Kimura, Paul P.H. But International Collation of Traditional and Folk Medicine: Northeast Asia. World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. Singapore; 1998. p. 57.
  7. Tam Garland, A. Catherine Barr. Toxic Plants and Other Natural Toxicants CABI Publishing Oxon; 1998. p. 455.
  8. Delena Tull. Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: A Practical Guide. University of Texas Press Austin; 2003. p. 307
  9. Khosrojerdi H, Amini M. Decreased level of consciousness due to Albizia julibrissin poisoning: A case series. 10th APAMT 2011, 12th – 14th November 2011, Penang Malaysia.
  10. Mobile Reference The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs: An Essential Guide to Trees and Shrubs of the World. Mobile Reference Seried 2009