This is the first systematic study of rhizobia associated with Albizia trees. The analyses of PCR-RFLP and sequencing of 16S rRNA genes, SDS-PAGE of whole-cell proteins and clustering of phenotypic characters grouped the 31 rhizobial strains isolated from Albizia into eight putative species within the genera Bradyrhizobium, Mesorhizobium and Rhizobium. Among these eight rhizobial species, five were unique to Albizia and the remaining three were shared with Acacia and Leucaena, two legume trees coexisting with Albizia in China. These results indicated that Albizia species nodulate with a wide range of rhizobial species and had preference of microsymbionts different from Acacia and Leucaena. The definition of four novel groups, Mesorhizobium sp., Rhizobium sp. I, Rhizobium sp. II and "R. giardinii", indicates that further studies with enlarged rhizobial population are necessary to better understand the diversity and to clarify the taxonomic relationships of Albizia-associated rhizobia.