Friday, July 29, 2005

Albizia.... whatchamacallit

In response to my post on the cutting down of Albizia previously, Sivasothi commented that "it appears that Albizia falcata, Albizia falcataria and Albizia moluccana are synonyms of... Paraserianthes falcataria."

Thanks to Siva's little push in the right direction, I found out the following about Albizia or "whatever common or scientific names it is known" (source).

The trees in question. Photo by November

"Paraserianthes falcataria (L.) Nielsen is a valuable multipurpose tree for the humid tropics. One of the fastest growing of all tree species, it is used for pulp and other wood products, fuelwood, ornamental plantings and shade for coffee, tea and cattle. Potential uses for which it is being tested include alley farming and intercropping in forest plantations. This is a large tree that regularly reaches 24 to 30 m in height and 80 cm in diameter.

Falcataria occurs naturally in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands from 10 [degrees] S to 30 [degrees] N." [source]

Albizia falcataria (syn. Albizia falcata, Albizia moluccana, etc.) is "one of the quickest-growing trees of Malaysia. It is highly regarded as shade tree, sometimes used for coffee shade. It has also been used to shade tea in Java, but its rapid growth may damage the tea during drought. It has been suggested as cover for mine spoil. [editor's note: which may suggest its prescence near the quarry mines of Ubin] The wood is described as soft but suitable for tea boxes. [source]

Albizia trees behind a banana plantation at the brim of the Ubin quarry. Photo by November. 23 Jul 2005.

Somehow that information failed to make any dents on my thick skull. Whatever impact I'm supposed to feel at the name of "Paraserianthes falcataria" was totally lost on my non-biological self. It could be the most common plant in Singapore next to the rain tree but what I learnt from a little research only reinforced the points I made before.

1) Albizia is a plant native to this region. It may not be to Singapore but considering how this area used to be part of the Sunda continental shelf or Sundaland, its dispersal over Indonesia and Malaysia to Singapore may not be impossible.

2) In fact, it is also a very useful plant! Unfortunately, we must not overlook its "pesty" qualities such as the fact that "the tree regenerates so easily by natural seeding on any clearing that it can spread rapidly and become a pest" (source).

Paraserianthes falcataria
Albizia falcataria

1 comment:

EDWIN said...

Hi Edwin from Indonesia interesting about Falcata but the species from solomon, how we can find this seed?