Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Albizia lebbeck
(Indian siris)



Albizia lebbeck (Indian siris)


  • Last modified
  • 14 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Albizia lebbeck
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Indian siris
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • In the USA, A. lebbeck is a category 1 weed in Florida (SE-PPC, 2002). In Puerto Rico, it appears on a government invasive species list (...

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Wyndham Western Australia.
TitleTree habit
CaptionWyndham Western Australia.
CopyrightDavid Lea/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
Wyndham Western Australia.
Tree habitWyndham Western Australia.David Lea/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
TitleYoung tree
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Young tree©K.M. Siddiqui
TitleCoppice shoots
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Coppice shoots©K.M. Siddiqui
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Crown©K.M. Siddiqui
TitleFoliage and pods
Copyright©K.M. Siddiqui
Foliage and pods©K.M. Siddiqui
1. flowering branch
2. flower
3. fruit
TitleLine artwork
Caption1. flowering branch 2. flower 3. fruit
CopyrightPROSEA Foundation
1. flowering branch
2. flower
3. fruit
Line artwork1. flowering branch 2. flower 3. fruitPROSEA Foundation


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth.

Preferred Common Name

  • Indian siris

Other Scientific Names

  • Acacia lebbek (L.) Willd.
  • Albizia lebeck nom. illeg.
  • Albizzia lebbeck nom. illeg.
  • Albizzia lebeck nom. illeg.
  • Mimosa lebbeck L.

International Common Names

  • English: siris; woman's tongue
  • Spanish: canjuro (Mexico); mataraton (Panama)
  • French: acacia lebbeck; bois noir; ebénier d'Orient

Local Common Names

  • Australia: acacia; raintree
  • Cambodia: chreh
  • Caribbean: mother-in-law's tongue; rattlepod
  • Cuba: algarrobo de olor
  • Germany: Andamanen-Kokko; Lebachbaum
  • India: bage; baghemera; bengha; beymada; bhandir; chinchola; darshana; dieng-salvrin; dirasan; dirasanam; diriina; dirisana; doddabagi; gachoda; garso; goddahunse; harreri; hirih; kalbaghi; kalshish; kalsis; karuvagei; katu vagai; katvaghe; kinhi; kokko; kona; kothia koroi; lasrin; mathirsi; moroi; munipriva; salaunjal; samkesar sirisha; sarin; sarshio; seleyadamara sirsul; shirish; shirson; shrin; sirai; sirar; siras; sirin; siris; sirish; sirisha; sirissa; sirsa; tantia; tinia; vaga; vagai; vage; vagei; vaka; vakai; vellavaka; velvgai; voghe
  • Indonesia: kitoke; tarisi
  • Indonesia/Java: tekik
  • Italy: albizia indiana
  • Myanmar: kokko
  • Philippines: aninapala; langil
  • Thailand: chamchuri; ka se; kampu; khago
  • Vietnam: bo ket tay; lim xanh; trat

EPPO code

  • ALBLE (Albizia lebbeck)

Trade name

  • East Indian walnut
  • Indian siris
  • kokko

Summary of Invasiveness

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In the USA, A. lebbeck is a category 1 weed in Florida (SE-PPC, 2002). In Puerto Rico, it appears on a government invasive species list (Federal Highway Administration, 2001) and Francis and Liogier (1991) classed it as an already common, abundant or widespread species competing in primary or secondary forests in Puerto Rico. It as a category 2 invasive species in the Bahamas (BEST Commission, 2003). In South Africa, A. lebbeck invades coastal bush and riverbanks and is declared a category 1 weed under the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 1983. Cronk and Fuller (1995) report that it is invasive in Venezuela and the Caribbean. PIER (2002) note that it is invasive in various Pacific islands, and as cultivated or naturalized along roadsides and in forest patches in others, e.g. on Chuuk, Space et al. (2000) classed it as invasive or potentially invasive and monitored for spread and possible control. Binggeli (1999) reports the species to be moderately invasive. It is also reported as invasive in Malawi and as present in Rwanda.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Mimosoideae
  •                                 Genus: Albizia
  •                                     Species: Albizia lebbeck

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page The genus Albizia was named after Filippo del Albizzi, a Florentine nobleman who in 1749 introduced A. julibrissin into cultivation. The genus Albizia is very similar to Acacia, from which it differs by the stamens being fused, as opposed to free in Acacia.

A. lebbeck (L.) Benth. was described in Hooker's London J. of Botany 3: 87 (1844). The species name is from the 'laebach', the Arabic name for this plant. Related species are A. canescens and A. procera. The use of `albizia' as a common name for this species is to be avoided, as it is often applied to Falcataria moluccana (syn. Paraserianthes falcataria), which is very different from A. lebbeck.


Top of page A deciduous tree, A. lebbeck can attain a height of 30 m and a stem diameter of 1 m, but more commonly it is 15-20 m tall and 50 cm in diameter at maturity, with grey fissured corky bark, somewhat flaky; inner bark reddish. It is multi-stemmed when grown in the open but capable of producing a single straight stem when grown in plantations (Lowry et al., 1994). It is described and illustrated by Verdcourt (1979), Brock (1988), Lowry et al. (1994), Doran and Turnbull (1997) and in many other texts. The compound leaves are bipinnate, glabrous or slightly hairy on the axis, pinnae in 2-4 pairs, each with 2-11 pairs of obliquely oblong to elliptic-oblong leaflets, 15-65 x 5-35 mm, shortly stalked, initially bright green and maturing to a duller glaucous green and folding at night (Nielsen, 1985; Lowry et al., 1994). It is fully deciduous but for only a brief period (4-6 weeks) in the dry season (Lowry et al., 1994). The glabrous glands are raised, elliptic to circular, on the upper side of the stalk, close to the base and between most pairs of leaflets (Hyland and Whiffin, 1993). The inflorescence consists of large clusters 5-7.5 cm wide of fragrant pedunculate globular flower heads, 15-40, on stalks 5-10 cm long. The corolla is 5.5-9 mm long, glabrous, cream, white or green, with numerous pale green stamens on filaments 15-30 mm long. The entire inflorescence is 'fluffy' in appearance, 60 mm in diameter, yellow-green with a pleasant fragrance. The pods are pale straw to light brown at maturity, narrow-oblong 12-35 x 3-6 cm, papery-leathery, swollen over the seeds and not constricted between them, indehiscent and borne in large numbers. Seeds are brown, flat, orbicular or elliptic, 8-10 x 6-7 mm, transversely placed with 3-12 in each pod.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated


Top of page A. lebbeck is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and to those areas of South-East Asia with a marked dry season, such as northeastern Thailand, parts of Malaysia and in the eastern islands of Indonesia (Little, 1983; `t Mannetje and Jones, 1992; Lowry et al., 1994). Natural populations in Australia occur in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the extreme north of the Northern Territory and offshore islands, and on Cape York Peninsula in Queensland (Doran and Turnbull, 1997).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes


AfghanistanPresentIntroduced Planted
BangladeshPresentNativePlanted, Natural
BhutanPresentNativePlanted, Natural
British Indian Ocean TerritoryPresentIntroduced
CambodiaPresentNativePlanted, Natural
ChinaPresentIntroduced Planted
Cocos IslandsPresentNative Natural
IndiaPresentNativeTroup and Joshi, 1983
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentNative Natural
-Andhra PradeshPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-AssamPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-BiharPresentNative Natural
-DelhiPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-GujaratPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-HaryanaPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-Himachal PradeshPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-Indian PunjabPresentIntroduced Planted
-Jammu and KashmirPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-KarnatakaPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-KeralaPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-MaharashtraPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-MeghalayaPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-OdishaPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-RajasthanPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-Tamil NaduPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-Uttar PradeshPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-West BengalPresentNativePlanted, Natural
IndonesiaPresentNative Natural
-JavaPresentNative Natural
JapanPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentIntroduced
KuwaitPresentIntroduced Planted
LaosPresentNative Planted
MalaysiaPresentIntroduced Planted
MyanmarPresentNativePlanted, Natural
NepalPresentNativePlanted, Natural
PakistanPresentIntroducedPlanted, Natural
PhilippinesPresentNativePlanted, Natural
Saudi ArabiaPresentIntroduced
Sri LankaPresentIntroduced Planted
ThailandPresentNative Natural
VietnamPresentIntroduced Planted


BotswanaPresentIntroducedBuss, 2002
Burkina FasoPresentIntroduced Planted
Cape VerdePresentIntroduced
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroduced
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroduced
Equatorial GuineaPresentIntroduced
MadagascarPresentIntroduced Planted
MalawiPresentIntroduced Invasive Witt and Luke, 2017
MauritiusPresentIntroduced Planted
NigeriaPresentIntroduced Planted
RwandaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017
Sao Tome and PrincipePresentIntroduced
Sierra LeonePresentIntroduced
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Henderson, 2001
SudanPresentIntroduced Planted
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced Planted

North America

MexicoPresentIntroduced Planted
-FloridaPresentIntroduced1880s Invasive Planted CAIP, 2002
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedPIER, 2002
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2002

Central America and Caribbean

ArubaPresentIntroducedBurg et al., 2012
BonairePresentIntroducedBurg et al., 2012
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
CuraçaoPresentIntroducedBurg et al., 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted IABIN, 2003
El SalvadorPresentIntroduced
JamaicaPresentIntroduced Planted
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Francis and Liogier, 1991; Federal Highway Administration, 2001
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedKrauss, 2012
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2002

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced Planted
French GuianaPresentIntroduced
VenezuelaPresentIntroduced Invasive Cronk & Fuler, 1995


AustraliaPresentNativeBeadle, 1981
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentNativeBeadle, 1981
-QueenslandPresentNativePlanted, NaturalDoran and Turnbull, 1997
-Western AustraliaPresentNative Natural Doran and Turnbull, 1997
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2002
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2002
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2002
GuamPresentIntroducedPIER, 2002
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2002
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive Space et al., 2000; PIER, 2002
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Planted
New ZealandPresentIntroduced
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroduced
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced
TongaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2002

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page A. lebbeck has a pantropical distribution. It has been widely cultivated about the seasonally dry tropics of Africa, Asia and South America, mainly as a shade tree and has occasionally naturalized (Lowry et al., 1994) so much so that the boundaries between indigenous populations and those established from exotic germplasm have become blurred. In northern Australia, for example, seed imported from Asia has been widely used and differentiating between native and exotic forms has become increasingly difficult (Hyland and Whiffin, 1993).

Risk of Introduction

Top of page A. lebbeck is actively promoted particularly in relation to agroforestry where it is regarded as having potential for use in silvopastoral systems in semi-arid regions (Lowry et al, 1998). This interest stems from its apparent ability to improve pasture production and quality, in addition to providing a food supplement in the form of the leaves, flowers and pods (Lowry et al, 1998). It has naturalized or become invasive in a number of locations and its future introduction to other sites has the potential to increase the number of locations where it has become invasive.


Top of page In its native range, A. lebbeck is often found on riverbanks and in savannahs, forests and bushy areas (Weber, 2003). In its Australian range, A. lebbeck is a dominant species in semi-evergreen vine forests (monsoon forest) in areas with a mean annual rainfall of 1300-1500 mm and a very dry winter (Beadle, 1981). It is also in semi-deciduous microphyll vine thickets on scree slopes of quartz sandstone mountains (Miles et al., 1975), with a closed canopy of emergent trees 9-15 m tall. On lateritic plateaux, A. lebbeck grows with Hakea arborescens and Grevillea mimosoides in the shrub layer beneath low woodland and low open-forest. In India, it is found in tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous forests in areas with a mean rainfall of 600 to 2500 mm (Troup and Joshi, 1983).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Genetics

Variation in height and diameter growth, branch number, biomass and chemical contents of seed and foliage were observed among twelve provenances of A. lebbeck collected throughout India. (Kumar and Toky, 1994; Toky et al., 1996). Provenances from north-western and central India, in general, were superior to those from south India. Apart from these reports, there is little information on its genetic variability and there are apparently no other programmes systematically screening provenances or undertaking selection and breeding activities. The value of A. lebbeck is critically dependent upon resistance to insect attack and this should be the first objective of developmental work on the species (`t Mannetje and Jones, 1992). Although the species has a very wide natural distribution and in that sense is not endangered, the blurring of boundaries between indigenous populations and those established from exotic germplasm is a conservation issue. It would appear timely to consider a systematic seed collection of natural occurrences from throughout the entire range of the species before potentially valuable genetic material is lost or introgressed with planted stands.

Physiology and Phenology

A. lebbeck has a growth pattern strongly dependent on seasonal changes (`t Mannetje and Jones, 1992). It stops growing early in the dry season, loses its leaves in the middle of the dry season some 2 to 3 months later, remains leafless for 1 to 2 months, with new growth appearing towards the end of the dry season. Heavy flowering follows shortly afterwards, but seed set is initially poor (`t Mannetje and Jones, 1992). Further growth accompanied by flowering and good seed set occurs into the wet season. In northern Australia, flowering occurs from September to October (Wheeler et al., 1992) with mature pods available early in the dry season, about May-July (Brock, 1988). Pods can remain on the tree for 3 to 4 months (`t Mannetje and Jones, 1992). In India, flowering occurs mainly from March to May, and fruits grow to their full size from August to October (Troup and Joshi, 1983).

Reproductive Biology

Flowers are insect pollinated (Lowry et al., 1994). A. lebbeck can be established by direct sowing, using container-grown stock or as bare-rooted seedlings or stump plants (`t Mannetje and Jones, 1992; Gupta, 1993; MacDicken, 1994). The seeds are relatively large. Hocking (1993) reports 7000-12,000 seeds/kg while Lowry et al. (1994) note 7000-8000 seeds/kg. A. lebbeck is amenable to vegetative propagation by several means including tissue culture (Archna and Nangia, 1992), air layering (Misra et al., 1992; Misra and Jaiswal, 1995), stem cuttings (Rawat and Joshi, 1995), root explants (Miah and Rao, 1996) and as stump plants (Hocking, 1993).

Environmental Rquirements

A. lebbeck grows well in areas with 600-2500 mm rainfall annually, yet it will survive in areas with low and irregular rainfall receiving only 300 mm annually (`t Mannetje and Jones, 1992; Hocking, 1993; Lowry et al., 1994). In Australia, the distribution is in the hot humid climatic zone. Elsewhere it favours semi-arid to sub-humid areas (`t Mannetje and Jones, 1992). In Australia, the mean maximum of the hottest month is 30-35°C and the mean minimum of the coolest month is 19-31°C (Doran and Turnbull, 1997). The occurrence in the northern part of Australia has a marked monsoonal incidence of rainfall, with the 50th percentile rainfall being 1030-1755 mm, the 10th percentile being 720-1230 mm, while the lowest on record is 385-1050 mm. There are 75-125 rainy days a year; and the area is frost-free. In India, it is found in areas which experience temperatures up to 49°C, but it is also found in areas which experience frost, with an absolute minimum temperature of -5°C (Hocking, 1993). A modified description of climatic requirements (see climatic data table of this data sheet) was prepared by CSIRO (Booth and Jovanovic, 2000).

Outside of Australia, it grows well on fertile, well-drained loamy soils but poorly on heavy cracking clays. It tolerates moderately alkaline, saline and sodic (pH<9, ESP<35, ECe<4 dS/m) soils (Tomar and Yadav, 1982; MacDicken, 1994; Singh, 1994). In Australia, the species occurs on the Kimberley plateau on soils overlying basalts (Miles et al., 1975) and amongst sandstone boulders and basalt outcrops on breakaway slopes. It is also found on the banks of streams on riverine sites (Beard, 1979), and on stabilized dunes or low lateritic ledges above the beach (Brock, 1988). Soil types include laterite and shallow sandy soils.


In Australia, associated dominants in semi-evergreen vine forests include Adansonia gregorii, Alphitonia excelsa and Ceiba pentandra. In semi-deciduous microphyll vine thicket on scree slopes of quartz sandstone mountains associate species include Paramygnia trimera, Celtis philippensis and Pouteria sericea (Miles et al., 1975). On lateritic plateaux, A. lebbeck grows with Hakea arborescens and Grevillea mimosoides in the shrub layer beneath low woodland and low open-forest. Dominant species are Eucalyptus tetrodonta, E. nesophila, Ficus sp. and Canarium australianum.

A. lebbeck fixes nitrogen after nodulating with a range of Rhizobium strains in many tropical soils, and does so at a rate that makes it an attractive hedgerow species for use in alley cropping (Kadiata and Mulongoy, 1995; Kadiata et al., 1996). This species is not Rhizobium specific and naturalised forms will produce nodules easily (Lowry et al., 1994). This species also forms symbiotic mycorrhizal associations between its roots and various fungi.

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
31 -16 0 1100

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -2
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 28
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 26 43
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 7 26


Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration27number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall5002500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • saline
  • sodic

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page Damping off of seedlings in nurseries by Rhizoctonia solani has been recorded in India (Mehrotra, 1989) and Sri Lanka (Bandara, 1987) and by Fusarium spp. in India (Harsh, 1993). Occurrence of an unnamed virus disease on nursery plants of A. lebbeck has been reported by Chowdhery et al. (1992). Root rots, cankers, heart rots, spot fungi and rusts (Ravenelia and Urendo) can cause damage (Sharma and Bhardwaj, 1988; Gupta, 1993; Lenné and Boa, 1994). Defoliation by Endothella albizae has been recorded in Africa, the Philippines and Pakistan (Gibson, 1975). Leaf blotch and foliar necrosis of A. lebbeck caused by Camptomeris albizae has been reported in tropical Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Dominican Republic and Bangladesh (Browne, 1968; Gibson, 1975). Uromycladium tepperianum and Sphaerophragmium acaciae are found on A. lebbeck, as well as on other hosts including Acacia spp., but their importance has not been determined (Browne, 1968; Gibson, 1975; Bakshi, 1976). The leaf spot, Cercospora glauca was recorded on A. lebbeck in USA, China and Nepal, and C. albizae was recorded on A. lebbeck in India, Sudan and Tanzania (Gibson, 1975; Bakshi, 1976). A common spot disease, Colletotrichum lebbeck has been widely recorded on pods and leaves of A. lebbeck in Pakistan, the Philippines and Jamaica (Gibson, 1975). Young plantations in India may suffer serious defoliation by Phyllosticta albizinae (Bakshi, 1976). A leaf mosaic in Mauritius is believed to be caused by a virus (Seliskar, 1964; Gibson, 1975). Dieback and canker are caused by Nectria ditissima on A. lebbeck in Madagascar (Gibson, 1975). Fusarium solani causes greyish-black cankers and a severe infection will cause drying of the crown in 15-20 year-old trees in India (Bakshi, 1976). The most important disease of A. lebbeck is vascular wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. perniciosum. It is widespread in the USA and reported from Argentina and Puerto Rico (Gibson, 1975).

There is also a wide range of insect pests including sap suckers, wood and seed borers (such as Bruchidius spp.) and defoliators such as psyllids (probably Heteropsylla) (Hegde and Relwani, 1988; Ahmed et al., 1995). Insect predators associated with three species of psyllids infesting A. lebbeck in forest nurseries in India are reported by Thirumurthi and Annamali (1995). In Nigeria, damage has been caused by the striped mealy bug, Ferrisia virgata (Kadiata et al., 1992). Young leaves may be subject to heavy predation by the larvae of the grass yellow butterfly (Eurema hecoba) (Lowry et al., 1994); the effect is short-lived. Bark-feeding larvae of the longicorn beetle cause serious damage when complete girdling of stems 40-100 mm diameter causes dieback (Lowry et al., 1994); little effect is seen in small and large stems. Individual trees exhibit considerable variation and may be more susceptible under water stress.

High seedling mortality may be caused by animal browsing and trampling (Hocking, 1993). In Australia, establishment can be adversely affected by grazing of young plants by mice, rabbits and other wildlife (`t Mannetje and Jones, 1992). Cheetal deer damage to nursery stock has been noted in Dehra Dun, India (Kumar and Thakur, 1993).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Strong winds are the main agent of seed dispersal, when intact pods can be carried for considerable distances (Lowry et al., 1994). Some seed passes through the intestinal tract of cattle but not that of smaller ruminants, which also aids dissemination (Lowry et al. 1998).

Impact Summary

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Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production None
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna None
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Impact: Biodiversity

Top of page A. lebbeck can establish dense stands that shade out native plants (Weber, 2003).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Linum carteri (Carter's small-flowered flax)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesFloridaCompetition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control


Top of page A. lebbeck is used in alley farming systems in Africa and India (e.g. Gupta, 1993; Tilander et al., 1995; Larbi et al., 1996) and is under trial in Thailand (Gutteridge, 1988). Lowry et al. (1994) highlighted the fact that in northern Australia the species, as well as providing stock feed directly, appears to enhance pasture production and quality, probably due to shading and related improved soil moisture status and fertility from litter breakdown. The shade is also a benefit in animal production in the dry tropics. These considerations led Lowry et al. (1994) to suggest three management options for incorporating A. lebbeck in pastoral systems. (1) Grow trees intensively in rows and woodlots, as a protein supplement, for feeding weaners or as a drought reserve, lopping annually or as necessary. (2) Establish trees at low density in open woodland with no management once established. (3) Develop agroforestry regimes in which animal production benefits are combined with wood production. The shallow, lateral rooting habit may mean that A. lebbeck competes with understorey crops in some circumstances (Hocking, 1993).

A. lebbeck is an attractive tree and is widely planted for shade in gardens, and as a roadside tree in India (Gupta, 1993) and Pakistan (Iqbal and Rahmati, 1992). Due to its extensive, fairly shallow root system, A. lebbeck is a good soil binder and is recommended for soil conservation and erosion control (e.g. Shaikh, 1992; Sreemannarayana et al., 1994; Devarnavadagi and Murthy, 1995; Gabhane et al., 1995). The nitrogen-rich leaves are valuable as mulch and green manure (e.g. Tilander, 1993); and in Kerala, India, it is grown specifically for this use in paddy fields (Hocking, 1993). The species is commonly grown as a shade tree in coffee and tea gardens and along avenues (Everist, 1969). It can be planted in exposed coastal situations and as quick-growing shelter for less hardy plants (Hearne, 1975). An extensive literature on the trialling of A. lebbeck for land reclamation after mining and revegetation of fly-ash dumps indicates that there are alternative, better adapted species available for this purpose.

Keating and Bolza (1982) describe the characteristics and uses of siris (A. lebbeck) wood. The sapwood is pale yellow and distinct and the heartwood dark walnut streaked with darker bands. It is moderately heavy and hard, strong and fairly durable, kiln-seasons well and works and polishes easily, but filler is required. The timber can be used for furniture, panelling, flooring, turnery and light construction. It is suitable for decorative sliced veneer but not for plywood. India has a well-developed trade in sawn timber of A. lebbeck. There it is used for tea boxes, sugar-cane crushers, rice pounders, wheels, agricultural implements and house posts (Gupta, 1993). The wood is also suitable for pulping for writing and printing paper (Kalra, 1990), and it is an excellent fuelwood and charcoal species.

A. lebbeck is regarded as a valued forage for ruminants (`t Mannetje and Jones, 1992). Green leaves, fallen flowers and dry leaves are palatable. The foliage is highly digestibility early in the season, or in regrowth after cutting, and when mature it is of moderate digestibility, although it is still more digestible than mature grass. Young leaves taste bitter and intake may be limited when offered as the whole diet. The leaves do not contain phenolics; however, the pods contain saponin, and in Australia are not eaten in large amounts by sheep, although cattle eat them readily (Lowry, 1991; Burrows and Prinsen, 1992; `t Mannetje and Jones, 1992). All fractions fed as supplements increased the digestibility of dry matter intake of low quality basal diet (Schlink et al., 1991). The species is often grown as fodder for cattle, camels and water buffalo (MacDicken, 1994).

Flowers are a rich source of light-coloured honey (Gupta, 1993). The bark, which contains 7-11% tannin, as well as saponin (Pal et al., 1995), is used locally in India for tanning and when dried and pounded can be used for soap (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). The reddish gum (Martinez et al., 1995) is a substitute for gum arabic. Extracts from the seed, flowers, fruit, bark and leaves have been used medicinally (e.g. Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962; Tripathi et al., 1979; Ganguli and Bhatt, 1993). The nutritional value of A. lebbeck seed as human food has been studied (Sotelo et al., 1995).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage
  • Invertebrate food for lac/wax insects


  • Agroforestry
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Soil improvement


  • Charcoal
  • Fuelwood


  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Honey/honey flora


  • Carved material
  • Dye/tanning
  • Gum/resin
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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  • Boxes



  • Posts

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Flooring
  • For light construction
  • Wall panelling

Vehicle bodies



  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Tool handles
  • Turnery
  • Wood carvings

Prevention and Control

Top of page Weber (1993) reports that seedlings and saplings may be dug out or removed by hand pulling while larger trees may be cut and the stumps treated with herbicide.


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