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Hiroshige ukiyo-e
MFA# 11.37273
Silk tree Albizia julibrissin


Any of several small trees and shrubs of the genus Mimosa, such as the silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) and the silver wattle (Acacia dealbata). Mimosa trees can be found in the southern United States, Africa, Asia and Australia. They have soft, fern-like leaves. Mimosa trees are planted for decoration; their timber is not sold commercially. The bark of the mimosa tree is high in tannins and has been used for the vegetable tanning of leathers.

Synonyms and Related Terms

silk tree (Albizia julibrissin, pink siris); silver wattle (Acacia dealbata); mimosa (Fr., It.)

Silk tree Albizia julibrissin

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Small tree with flat top growing to 10 m.
  • Bark = smooth gray-brown.
  • Leaf = alternate bipinnate to 25-50 cm
  • Flower = fluffy flower with numerous thready white or pink stamens in mid summer
  • Fruit = flattened pod 12-15 cm long

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Virginia Tech Dendrology website at www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/main.htm (accessed Oct. 8, 2005)
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998