Albizia lebbeck

Woman's tongue

Nonnative to FloridaFISC Category 1 Invasive

Species Overview

Native to: Tropical Asia, northern Australia 

Woman’s tongue was imported as an ornamental tree, but escaped cultivation in 1883.  

Species Characteristics

  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Habit: Deciduous, unarmed tree to 20 m (65 ft) tall, with a rounded, spreading crown and pale bark.
  • Leaves: Alternate, twice compound, with 2–5 pairs of pinnae, each pinna with 3–10 pairs of leaflets; leaflets elliptic-oblong, 2–4 cm (1–2 in) long. Usually asymmetrical at base, dull green above, paler green below.
  • Flowers: Mimosa-like, in showy, rounded clusters near stem tips, 5–6 cm (2–2.5 in) across, cream or yellowish-white; each flower with numerous long stamens.
  • Fruit: Flat, linear pod, to 30 cm (1 ft) long, dried pods persistent after leaf-fall, often heard rattling in the wind.
  • Seeds: in pods with many seeds
  • Distribution in Florida: central and south


Woman's tongue invades tropical hammocks in the Florida Keys and the somewhat disturbed pinelands of Everglades National Park. It also invades pine rocklands and canopy gaps in the rockland hammocks in Dade County. Woman's tongue produces large amounts of seeds and rapidly growing seedlings may reach high densities. It also suckers from the roots and once established and forms dense stands. The UF/IFAS Assessment  lists woman's tongue as species of caution (requires management to prevent escape) in south and central Florida and not considered a problem in north Florida. It is listed as a Category 1 invasive by FLEPPC.

Control Methods

Preventive Measures

Healthy, diverse ecosystems are more resilant against invasive plants. Plant native alternatives such as sweet acacia (Acacia farnesiana), Jamaica caper tree (Capparis cynophallophora), marlbery (Ardisia escallonioides), Florida privet (Forestiera segregata) and sand live oak (Quercus geminata). 


Do not plant. If present, remove plant, roots and seedlings promptly.


Cut mature trees and remove seedlings to prevent establishment.


There are no known biological control agents for woman's tongue.

  • Cut stump: 50% Garlon 3A, 10% Milestone, or 10% Garlon 4.
  • Basal bark: 20% Garlon 4 or 100% Pathfinder II. Follow-up treatments necessary for root sprouts with 10% Garlon 4.

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