Albizia is a genus of trees and shrubs forming part of the Fabaceae family. The plants are without thorns or spines, although in some species the branchlets end in sharp spikes.
The alternate leaves are twice compound, bearing glands on their petioles and sometimes also on the leaf rachises. Herbaceous stipules are present.
The flowers grow in stalked, half-spherical heads or cylindrical spikes. Most species bear bisexual flowers, some a mix of bisexual and unisexual ones. The calyx has a bell-shaped to nearly cylindrical tube ending in five, sometimes four short lobes.
The corolla is funnel-shaped, its tube at least as long as the calyx. The corolla is also five or four-lobed but inconspicuous. Numerous stamens are united in the flower base. They are strongly exserted. The mostly oblong ovary is in some cases stalked, narrowing into a thread-like style that is longer than the stamens.
The fruit is a flat, straight pod that mostly dehisces when ripe. The seeds are ovoid to spherical, attached to thread-like funicles.
There are 145 Albizia species, all found in the warmer parts of Africa, Asia and Australia. Only 11 of them occur naturally in southern Africa.
The generic name, Albizia, is derived from the name of an Italian nobleman of Florence, Filippo degli Albizzi, a naturalist who introduced the plant in cultivation into Italy in 1749.
The plant in picture is Albizia forbesii (Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002; Pooley, 1993; Wikipedia).