Albizia lebbeck
Family: Leguminosae
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Other Common Names: Dormilon (Colombia), Barba de caballero (Venezuela), Siris tree, East Indian Walnut (United Kingdom), Siris (India).


Distribution: The species is widely distributed in India, Burma, Andaman Islands, Philippines, Indochina, and Malaysia.  Planted and naturalized throughout the tropics as an ornamental and for shade.


The Tree: Under favorable conditions reaching a height of 90 ft with trunk diameters of 2 to 3 ft.  The crown is usually spreading.  Grows particularly well in dry areas.


The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood golden brown when freshly cut turning to a rich dark brown with lighter streaks on exposure; distinct from the whitish sapwood. Texture medium to coarse; luster medium; grain deeply interlocked; without distinctive odor or taste.


Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.51; air-dry density 39 pcf.


Mechanical Properties: (First two sets of data based on the 2-in.  standard, third set on the 2-cm standard.)


Moisture content   Bending strength   Modulus of elasticity   Maximum crushing strength

            (%)                  (Psi)                            (1,000 psi)                   (Psi)

Green (22)                     9,500                         1,580                           5,100

8%                               14,400                         1,820                           8,750


11% (47)                     15,640                         2,060                           10,300


12% (51)                     13,400                         NA                              7,950


Janka side hardness ranged from 1,240 lb to 1,440 lb for dry material.  Amsler toughness at 12% moisture content 210 in.-lb (2-cm specimen).


Drying and Shrinkage: A moderately difficult wood to air dry, prone to end splitting and surface checking.  Kiln schedule T6-D2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T3-D1 for 8/4.  Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.9%; tangential 5.8%; volumetric 9.6%.


Working Properties: The wood is reported to be somewhat difficult to saw and machine because of the roey grain; takes a smooth surface and finishes well; slices well for decorative veneers.  Sawdust may be irritating to eyes, nose, and throat.


Durability:Heartwood is rated as moderately durable.


Preservation: Sapwood is easy to treat, heartwood is not.


Uses: Furniture and cabinetwork, decorative veneers, parquet and strip flooring, joinery.


Additional Reading: (17), (22), (47), (51)


17.  Farmer, R. H. (Editor).  1972.  Handbook of hardwoods.  H. M. Stationery Office, London.

22.  For.  Res.  Inst.  and Colleges.  1970.  Indian timbers. Kokko (Siris).  For. Res.  Inst.  and Colleges Information Series 6. Dehra Dun.

47.  Pearson, R. S., and H. P. Brown.  1932.  Commercial timbers of India.  Gov.  of India Central Publ. Br., Calcutta.

51.  Sallenave, P. 1955.  Proprietes physiques et mecaniques des bois tropicaux de l'union Francaise. Publ.  Centre Tech.  For.  Trop.  No.  8, Nogent-sur-Marne.


From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.