Albizia amara (Roxb.) B. Boivin is a tropical tree from the dry areas of East Africa and India, used as fodder for livestock.
Albizia amara is a small to medium-sized, deciduous, acacia-like tree, (3-) 6-13 m high. It is many-branched and forms a wide, dense and rounded crown. The bark is thin, rough, scaly and variable in colour (IBP, 2016; Orwa et al., 2009). The root system is shallow and spreading (Orwa et al., 2009). Young shoots, branchlets and leaves are pubescent. Leaves are paripinnate, 10-20 cm long, bearing 10-40 pairs of pinnulae with about 15-30 pairs of leaflets. The leaflets are minute, about 2-7 mm x 0.5-2 mm, elliptic and sparsely ciliate. The flowers are white, cream, or pinkish-white in colour, and fragrant. They are grouped in showy globulous clusters, 2.5 cm in diameter. During flowering, the trees resemble cherry trees in blossom (FAO, 2016). Fruits are indehiscent, flat, straight pods. They are 10-24 cm long and 2.5-4 cm wide and greyish brown in colour. They contain 6-13 compressed, ovate, hard-coated, brown seeds (IBP, 2016; Orwa et al., 2009).
Albizia amara is a multipurpose tree of which many parts are used. The wood is hard, fine grained and strong. It is used for construction, agricultural implements, and furniture. It is a good firewood that can be directly burnt or made into charcoal. The fruit is inedible and the seeds are alleged to be poisonous. Leaves are sometimes used as an adulterant for tea. They can be dried and ground to make soap and shampoo (IBP, 2016; Orwa et al., 2009). Albizia amara provides a wide range of environmental services: it is an N-fixing species, a controller of soil erosion, and it is used as a wind break and shade provider for tea and coffee plantations. It is a source of nectar for bees and is used in urban areas as an ornamental tree (Orwa et al., 2009). The leaves are used as fodder for cattle, sheep and goats, though they are less palatable than other forages (Orwa et al., 2009). In ethnoveterinary medicine, preparations of leaves in mixture with other foliages are used to cure mastitis, and mites and ticks infestations in cows (Reddy, 2010).