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Botanical description

— Genus, Albizzia, Durazz.

Calyx. — Campanulate or tubular, 5- or rarely 4-toothed.

Corolla. — 5- or rarely 4-lobed, with a cylindrical tube.

Stamens. — Indefinite, usually numerous and long, united at the base in a tube enclosing the ovary.

Pod. — Linear or oblong, straight or nearly so, flat, thin, rarely coriaceous, indehiscent or opening without elasticity in 2 valves.

Seed. — Usually orbicular, along the centre of the pod; funicle filiform.

Trees or shrubs, without prickles.

Leaves. — Twice pinnate, with a gland on the petiole below the pinnæ, and others between or below some or all of the pinilæ, and leaflets.

Flowers. — In globular heads or rarely cylindrical spikes, usually hermaphrodite.

Stamens. — White or pink, rarely yellow, much longer than in Acacia. — (B.Fl. ii, 421).

Bentham (B.Fl. ii, 422) places this tree under Pithecolobium. I follow Mueller in placing it under Albizzia. See an important paper by the latternote where it seems fully proved that the Australian species come under Albizzia. Whether or no, the South American species with fleshy pods, hence eaten by apes and monkeys, should be placed under Pithecolobium (Greek pithes an ape).

Bentham distinguishes between the two genera as follows:—

Pod flat and thin, straight scarcely falcate. — Albizzia.

Pod curved or twisted, 2-valved, and often reddish or pulpy inside, or separating into indehiscent articles. — Pithecolobium.

and his reasons in favour of separating the two genera, as given in B.Fl. ii, 421, should be perused.

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