Classification of the genus Acacia (in the wider sense) has been subject to considerable debate. It is generally agreed that there are valid reasons for breaking it up into several distinct genera, but disagreement in the way this should be done. As of 2012, it is generally agreed that this species should be transferred to Senegalia but, as yet, no valid combination has been made for this new name[
Acacia eriadenia Benth.
Acacia lugardiae N.E.Br.
Flowering tree, growing on the southern slope of the Magaliesberg, South Africa
Photograph by: JMK
Acacia ataxacantha is a spiny, multi-stemmed, woody plant that can be a scrambling shrub growing 3 - 5 metres tall; or can adopt a more climbing habit with stems up to 15 metres long that climb into the surrounding vegetation; or can sometimes become more tree-like, growing up to 10 metres tall with a bole 20 - 30cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of materials and medicines. It is often planted to form dense, impenetrable hedges.
Africa - drier areas from Mauritania to Sudan, Uganda and Kenya; south to Angola, Namibia to Mozambique and S. Africa.
In drier areas, woodlands, wooded grassland, locally common on Kalahari and similar sands, sometimes in lowveld in riverine areas, forming thickets (Zimbabwe); riverine fringing vegetation; at elevations up to 1,200 metres[
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Young plants are frost tender[
Prefers a moist soil, but the plant is fairly drought resistant[
Initial growth of newly transplanted seedlings is slow, but then increases[
There are conflicting reports on whether or not this tree has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, so it is unclear as to whether this tree fixes atmospheric nitrogen[
The plant (part not specified) is used in traditional medicine to treat constipation and abdominal pains[
The plant (part not specified) is used in traditional medicine to treat syphilis, boils, helminthiasis and wounds, headache, toothache, respiratory diseases[
An excellent and much used hedge plant. It forms an impenetrable and attractive screen and is commonly used for security purposes[
The wood can be split into paper-like strips without cracking and these strips are commonly used as a weaving material for making baskets[
The roots are also used in basketry, and have been traditionally used to make long-stem tobacco pipes[
The bark is used for making strong ropes[
The heartwood is deep red brown; it is demarcated from wide band of creamy sapwood. It is said to be resistant to decay owing to gum deposits. As the stems are generally quite thin, the wood is mostly used for small implements and tools[
]. The long, straight shoots are used as walking sticks, bows, poles etc[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. Germination of treated seeds should take place within 2 weeks[
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