Silk tree, Albizzia julibrissin, near Hunnewell Building, 1989
Photograph by István Racz and Zsolt Debreczy (n.d.), Hungary
Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, United States
December 13, 1989
Ernest Henry Wilson (1876-1930) was the furthest-traveled of all the Arnold Arboretum’s plant explorers of the early twentieth century. In 1918, Wilson collected seeds of Albizia juibrissin in Seoul, Korea. “The origin of the plant in the Arboretum,” he said, “affords a good illustration of the importance of obtaining for northern gardens types which grow in the coolest regions they can withstand.” In other words, it is important to collect plants from the parts of their natural ranges where the coldest winter temperatures are similar to those of Boston.
Silk tree displays stunning pink and white, powder puff-like flowers starting in early July and often continuing into September. At any given time during its long blooming period, you may observe buds, flowers, and spent blossoms on the same tree.
Albizia juibrissin is our Tree of the Month for August 2017.
István Racz and Zsolt Debreczy are world-renowned denrologists with a long and storied association with Arnold Arboretum. They are authors of Conifers around the world : conifers of the temperate zones and adjacent regions, published in 2011 by DendroPress. We have many thousands more of their photographs available to view in the library.
Copyright © 1989, President and Fellows of Harvard College, Arnold Arboretum Archives; all rights reserved.