Facts About the Persian Silk Tree and Tips for Care
The Persian silk tree is an attractive ornamental tree well-known for its beautiful foliage and flowers. The scientific name of this tree is Albizia julibrissin. It belongs to the Fabaceae family and genus Albizia.
The genus name honors Filippo delgi Albizzia, an 18th-century Italian naturalist, who introduced the genus to Italy in 1749. The specific epithet julibrissin comes from the Persian word gul-ebruschin, meaning floss silk, in reference to the silky strands of the flowers.
The plant is a deciduous, fast-growing tree with a spreading umbrella-like crown. Native to Asia, it can be found growing throughout the temperate regions of the world.
This tree is planted as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens. It can thrive in hot summer conditions and grow in varied soil types with low water requirements. In the wild, it can be found growing in vacant lots, clearings, wood margins, fields, and along the roads.
Description and Characteristics
The Persian silk tree is a fast-growing deciduous tree with a “V” shaped crown and smooth greenish-grey bark that develops stripes as it ages. It can grow up to 20–40 feet in height.
It has angular, glabrous branches with many lenticels. The leaves are dark green with a fern-like appearance. They are compound and bipinnate.
Each leaf has 10–25 pinnae, with each pinnae having 40–60 tiny leaflets. The leaflets are sensitive and close at night or when touched.
The flowers are pink and fluffy. The stamens are numerous and hang jutting out from the corolla. The flowers bloom from mid-spring to late summer.
The fruit is a flat brown bean-like seed pod about 7 inches long. It remains on the plant until the next spring. The seeds have an impermeable coat and can remain dormant for years.
The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences and attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. An individual flower has a small calyx and corolla with a cluster of white or pink stamens. The stamens are 2 cm to 3 cm long and look like silky threads.
Propagation of the Persian Silk Tree
The tree is propagated through seeds, semi-hardwood cuttings in summer, and root cuttings in winter.
Harvesting the Seeds
To harvest the seeds, allow the seed pods to dry out completely. When the outer shells turn dark brown, they are ready for harvesting. Pluck the seedpods and dry them on a paper towel. Break open the seedpods and remove the seeds and store them to plant in spring or late fall.
Persian Silk Tree Care
The Persian silk tree needs just enough water to keep the soil moist. It can even tolerate short periods of drought. A two-inch layer of mulch will help to protect the tree and keep the soil moist. Fertilize the soil with compost or organic fertilizer in early spring. Prune dead branches to keep the tree healthy.
This tree can also be grown as a container plant. Choose a large container with loamy soil and holes for adequate drainage. The"Summer Chocolate" variety of the Persian silk tree grows well as a container plant.
The seeds can be planted in a container or directly in the soil. They flourish in well-drained acidic soil with a pH of 4.6 to 5.0.
The Persian Silk tree has many cultivars:
- The "Rosea" cultivar flowers are bright pink.
- The "Alba" has white flowers.
- The "Boubri" has deep pink blooms.
- The "Summer Chocolate" cultivar features burgundy colored leaves.
The Persian silk tree is a weed and an invasive species in the south-central and southeastern United States.
Beauty and Skincare Benefits
The extract of the Persian silk tree has an anti-glycation effect on the skin. (Glycation is a process that results in the skin losing its elasticity leading to the development of wrinkles.)
The extract helps to repair the structure of damaged skin proteins, erases wrinkles, reduces dark circles under the eyes, and helps to get rid of puffy eyes. It improves blood circulation to the skin and prevents the formation of age spots. This extract is used in many skincare products.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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