Quick Facts

Quick facts

  • Dalbergia (Dalbergia sissoo) is a distinctive tree with pea-shaped flowers that is native to the Indian sub-continent, Myanmar and possibly western Asia.
  • It has naturalised in Queensland and the Northern Territory, with plants also being found in Western Australia and New South Wales.
  • It spreads mostly by root suckers.
  • It forms dense thickets to the virtual exclusion of most other plants.
  • It can be controlled by herbicide application.

What Does It Look Like?

What is it?

Dalbergia (Dalbergia sissoo) is a large upright tree growing up to 25 m tall, which may lose its leaves for a short period of the year. The main trunk is regularly branched and older stems are light brown to dark grey with bark up to 25 mm thick that is shed in narrow strips. Younger stems are brown or greenish and covered in small hairs that give them a downy appearance and texture. The leaves are up to 15 cm long and they are also hairy when young, but become hairless and leathery as they mature. The leaves are alternately arranged along the stems and consist of three to seven broadly oval or egg-shaped leaflets that are 5-10 cm long and usually light green.

The pea-shaped flowers are 15-20 mm long and white, yellowish-white or pale yellow. They are borne in large clusters in the forks of the leaves and are almost stalkless.

The fruit is a thin and strap-like elongated pod, 3-10 cm by 1-1.2 cm. These pods are pale brown, hairless, and contain 1-5 seeds. The brown, flattened seeds are oblong and 8-10 mm by 4 mm (Navie 2004).

For further information and assistance with identification of Dalbergia, contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Flower colour

Yellow, White

Growth form (weed type/habit)


Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat

Dalbergia is a potential weed of tropical and subtropical regions of Australia. It infests watercourses and nearby open woodlands and grasslands (PIER 2003; Navie 2004). In the Northern Territory it grows mostly on sands and gravels along watercourses, sometimes spreading into the drier forests and plains (PIER 2003).

Are there similar species?

Dalbergia is a relatively distinctive plant that is rarely confused with other species (Navie 2004).

Why Is It A Weed?

What are its impacts?

Native ecosystems: Dalbergia is regarded as an environmental weed in the Northern Territory and in some parts of Queensland. In the Northern Territory, it grows mostly on sands and gravels along watercourses, sometimes spreading into drier forests and plains (Weeds of Australia 2016). It has also become a widespread woody weed in remnant vegetation around Mackay and has the potential to form dense thickets that replace native vegetation (Weeds of Australia 2016). 

Agriculture: Dalbergia can also reduce the productivity of grazing areas and deny access to waterways and coastal areas (Weeds of Australia 2016).

How does it spread?

Dalbergia reproduces by seeds and also by the production of large numbers of suckers from its roots. This prolific root suckering increases the spread and density of populations of this species (Navie 2004).

What is its history in Australia?

Dalbergia was introduced into Australia in the Northern Territory, probably for wood and as a shade tree (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). It was first recorded in Queensland in 1912 on the Atherton Tableland (CRC For Australian Weed Management 2007).

How To Manage It?

Best practice management

Chemical control: Dalbergia can be controlled by herbicide application (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001). Cut stump, basal bark or stem injection have been used as ways to chemically control Dalbergia (PIER 2007).

Please see the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for chemical information http://www.apvma.gov.au

Non-chemical control: Manual control: Due to the vigorous coppicing and ability to reproduce from severed roots via suckering, it is assumed that only sing manually cutting Dalbergia would be ineffective (CABI 2008).

Fire: Dalbergia cannot withstand fire. Even light fire kills the foliage and severe fires may kill trees outright, thus fire could be considered as a suitable means of control (CABI 2008). 

Grazing: Foliage is also highly palatable, and seedlings and young trees also sensitive to browsing damage by domestic livestock and free-ranging herbivores, making grazing another possible means of control (CABI 2008).


Does it have a biological control agent?


When does it grow? (lifecycle/growth calendar)

Dalbergia flowers through much of the year, particularly during spring, summer and autumn (Navie 2004). Seeds germinate at any time of the year and a long tap root is formed in the first few months. Plants produce root suckers when 3 or 4 years old and viable seed at about 4 years (Parsons & Cuthbertson 2001).

Where Is It Found?

Which states and territories is it found?


What areas within states and territories is it found?

Dalbergia is naturalised in Australia, but it currently has a scattered distribution. It is mainly found in the coastal areas of the Northern Territory (particularly around Darwin) and in northern Queensland. It is also recorded from south-eastern Queensland, the inland areas of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and New South Wales (Navie 2004).

Where does it originate?

Dalbergia originated in northern India, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan (Navie 2004).

National And State Weed Listings

Is it a Weed of National Significance (WONS)?


Where is it a declared weed?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the Agricultural Sleeper List?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Names And Taxonomy

Main scientific name

Dalbergia sissoo

Other scientific names (synonyms)?


Does it have other known common name(s)?

Indian Dalbergia, Himalaya Raintree, Himalayan Raintree, Indian Rosewood, Sisso, Sissoo, Shisham

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