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 macrostachya is a spiny, several-stemmed, woody plant that can be more shrub like and grow around 4 metres tall; or can adopt a more climbing habit; or can become more tree-like and sometimes as much as 15 metres tall[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of wood. The plant is sometimes grown as a hedge.
Africa - drier areas from Senegal to Sudan.
On hard-pan and gravelly soils; sometimes on sand or loamy soils (Niger); bushy scrub, wooded savannah on compact sand, and thickets in shallow soil on hard-pan (S Chad); sometimes forming thorny thickets[
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Soil requirements are not specific, the plant is able to grow well on the poorest soils, on hardpans, clay, scree, detritus and debris[
Although many species within the family Fabaceae have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, this species is said to be devoid of such a relationship and therefore does not fix atmospheric nitrogen[
A gum obtained from the stems is edible but of a poor quality[
Seeds - cooked[
]. Sometimes boiled and eaten as a vegetable[
The young leaves are boiled and the liquid used in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders, as an anti-helminthic, and as an antidote to snake-bite[
]. It is said that if a large quantity of the leaves are eaten after having being bitten by a snake, then they will inhibit the poison's dispersion in the blood[
The bark and the roots are used medicinally[
The plant is used for making live hedgies - these can be impenetrable because of their spiny nature[
The wood is used as fence posts[
The wood can be used as fuel[
The seed of most, if not all, members of this genus has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up 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.
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