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Herb Gallery

He Huan Hua (Albizia Julibrissin)

  • Botanical name: Albizia julibrissin
  • Common name: Silk tree flower, Albizia flower, Mimosa
  • Literal name translation: conjoined happiness flower
  • Family: Fabaceae, pea family
  • Part used in Chinese medicine: flower
  • Major Chinese medicine actions:
  • Relieves Liver qi constraint, regulates the qi, calms the spirit
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia julibrissin

Photo Credits: (top to bottom)
Photo 1: Albizia julibrissin; 05/2005; author Fanghong; permission under GFDL
Photo 2: Albizia julibrissin; author Kurt Stueber; permission under GFDL
Photo 3: Albizia julibrissin; author Kurt Stueber; permission under GFDL

Growing and Propagation

The tree grows best in full sun and will not do well in shade. It is very adaptable and can tolerate poor soil, high pH, salinity, high winds, drought, and cold temperatures down to about -10 F, though the tips of branches may freeze in very cold conditions. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. The tree is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9.

When growing from seed, they should first be pre-soaked in hot water for 24 hours, or scarified with a file or sandpaper and then soaked for 8-10 hours. The soil should be kept moist until the seed sprout, which takes about 10 days. Trees can also be propagated by cuttings.

Harvesting and Preparation

For medicinal use, the flower buds are harvested from May to July on a sunny day, just before the flowers begin to open. They are then dried quickly in the sun or more slowly in the shade while stirring frequently to prevent the flowers from browning excessively. Good quality He Huan Hua are whole dried flowers that are pale yellowish brown in color and slightly aromatic. The tree bark (He Huan Pi) is also used in Chinese medicine.


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