This name is not universally accepted. We are following the treatment in 'A taxonomic study of Albizia(Leguminosae: Mimosoideae: Ingeae) in Mexico and Central America'[
], but some authorities use the name Pseudosamanea guachapele (Kunth) Harms (treated here as a synonym)[
Acacia guachapele Kunth
Albizia longepedata (Pittier) Britton & Rose ex Record
Lysiloma guachapele (Kunth) Benth.
Pithecellobium guachapele (Kunth) J.F.Macbr.
Pithecellobium guachapele (Kunth) R.S.Cowan
Pithecellobium longepedatum Pittier
Pithecellobium samaningua (Pittier) J.F.Macbr.
Pseudosamanea guachapele (Kunth) Harms
Samanea samanigua Pittier
Albizia guachapele is a tree with a rounded, spreading crown; it usually grows 10 - 20 metres tall, exceptionally to 50 metres[
]. The tree grows rapidly and develops a large, well-formed bole with only insignificant buttresses[
The tree produces a good quality timber with a high proportion of heartwood, it is widely appreciated within its native range where it is commonly harvested from the wild. The tree is also a source of dyestuff and is often left standing to provide shade in plantations when the forest is cleared for agriculture[
S. America - Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela; C. America - Panama to Mexico, mainly along the Pacific coast.
Seasonal deciduous woodland and at the dry edges of gallery forest, surviving as a shade tree in pastures and along hedgerows, usually at elevations up to 500 metres, but ascending to 3,000 metres in Colombia[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Semi-cultivated, Wild
A plant of low to high elevations in the tropics, usually found below 500 metres, but up to 3,000 metres in Colombia. It requires a mean annual rainfall within the range 600 - 2,400mm, usually growing in areas with a dry season of up to 7 months[
Requires a sunny position, though young seedlings can tolerate some shade for their first two years[
]. Found in the wild on soil types ranging from sandy loam to gravel and rocks[
]. Requires a well-drained soil[
]. Very tolerant of shallow, infertile soils[
], though it grows best in deep, fertile soils[
A fast-growing tree[
]. When grown in the open this species develops a poor form for timber use, with a short bole and a wide spreading crown. However, if grown at a high density, and with artificial pruning during the first four years, it will develop a good bole for timber[
The tree is often left to provide shade when the forest is cleared for agriculture[
The plant can survive forest fires[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The tree is used to provide shade in coffee plantations[
The flowers are a good source of forage for bees[
A golden dye is obtained from the yellowish-brown heartwood[
The heartwood is a uniform yellowish-brown or rich brown with a golden lustre; it is sharply demarcated from the narrow band of whitish sapwood. The grain is sometimes straight, but generally interlocked and producing a stripe figure on radial surfaces; the texture is medium to coarse, uniform. The wood is rated durable to very durable upon exposure to both white-rot and brown-rot fungi. It air-seasons moderately fast with some warping and slight checking; shrinkage is low. The wood works easily with all tools; sawn surfaces are rather woolly, but finish smoothly giving an attractive surface after sanding; it glues well. It is used in shipbuilding for planking, ribs, decking, railroad crossties, general construction, flooring, decorative veneers and furniture components. Weathering characteristics are excellent[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. A high germination rate can usually be expected[
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