Large-leaved false thorn.
Scientific name: Albizia versicolor,
Local name(s): Mkenge
Albizia versicolor is widespread from DR Congo east to Kenya, and south to Namibia and South Africa. The tree is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree up to 20 m tall; bole usually short and branchless for up to 5 m but sometimes up to 12 m, straight and cylindrical, up to 60(–150) cm in diameter; bark surface greyish brown, rough and fissured; crown flattened, open, with spreading branches; young twigs rusty brown hairy.
Root and bark decoctions are used as an anthelmintic and purgative, and to treat swollen glands and venereal diseases. Dried and powdered roots are taken or sniffed to treat headache and sinusitis, and a root maceration is taken against gonorrhoea. A bark decoction is used to treat anaemia, and it is applied externally to treat ophthalmia and skin rash. A bark maceration is taken against cough, and bark powder is sniffed for the same purpose.
The wood is locally used for small boats, tool handles, mortars and other kitchen implements, containers, casks and musical instruments. It is suitable for light construction, light flooring, joinery, furniture, cabinet work, decorative work, veneer, plywood, draining boards, hardboard and particle board. It is also used as firewood. he bark has been used for tanning and roots boiled with water can be used as a substitute for soap.
This species has good prospects as an auxiliary tree in agroforestry systems. It improves the soil with its nitrogen-fixing root nodules; provides mulch with its leaf litter; reduces erosion with its large rooting system; and its light canopy protects crops from too much sun without depriving them of sufficient ligh.