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19 Hutchins Street
Persian Silk Tree
Botanical name: Albizzia julibrissin (pronounced: al bit' zee a jul i briss' in).
Common name: Persian Silk Tree
A favourite shade tree in many warm climates around the world including Australia, France and California. It is quite hardy to -12C.
The Silk Tree is a very useful shade tree in New Zealand since it gets its ferny leaves in late spring-early summer, just as the hot weather starts. This is particularly useful for Rhododendron culture since the Silk Tree allows them to set flower buds on the first flush of growth in good light, then protects them from the seering heat of summer.
The Silk Tree produces its silky blooms during January and February, with its soft sweet perfume filling the garden on warm days.
This tree comes with one warning: Don't plant near swimming pools unless you like vacumming them and cleaning filters!
Propagation: Most trees are grown from seed with wide variation of colour from white through cream, salmon and peachy pink tones. The selected form 'Red Silk' (as pictured) is available from garden centres, and is grown from root cuttings. They may be grafted, but with some difficulty.