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Useful Tropical Plants

Prosopis cineraria

(L.) Druce

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Mimosa cineraria L.

Prosopis spicigera L.

Common Name: Ghaf

Prosopis cineraria
The 'Tree of Life' in Bahrain. Said to be hundreds of years old, it is the only tree growing in an area of desert
Photograph by: Alawadhi3000
Creative Commons License
Prosopis cineraria Prosopis cineraria Prosopis cineraria

General Information

Ghaf is a small thorny, irregularly branched, evergreen tree with a thin, open crown; it can grow to about 6.5 metres tall[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
414
Title
Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Network
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/factnet.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of in-depth factsheets on a wide range of plants, especially leguminous trees.
,
491
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 57
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1976
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical magazine, this issue has a comprehensive treatment of the genus Prosopis as well as several other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. The crooked bole is up to 30cm in diameter[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The tree has a wide range of uses, being harvested from the wild for food, medicine and various commodities[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It is also cultivated in arid and semi-arid regions of the tropics and subtropics as an agro-forestry tree and for soil stabilization. It has been tested in large scale trials in Yemen as a drought resistant tree that can be used as a windbreak against sandstorms[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

491
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 57
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1976
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical magazine, this issue has a comprehensive treatment of the genus Prosopis as well as several other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

W. Asia - Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran to India and Pakistan.

Habitat

A characteristic tree of secondary dry deciduous forest, desert thorn forest, ravine thorn forest, Zizyphus scrub, and desert dune scrub[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height6.50 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of arid and semi arid, lowland tropical and subtropical areas, where it is found at elevations from sea level to 600 metres[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It is found in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 200 - 800 mm[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. One estimation has said that the plant can tolerate up to 2,000mm of rain[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. In some areas of its natural distribution, the climate is characterised by extremes of temperature. The summers are very hot and winters can be severe with frost[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The maximum shade temperature varies from about 40 - 46°c, the absolute minimum temperature from 9 - 16°c[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Although young plants are sensitive to frost[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
], mature plants can tolerate frosts down to -6°c[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
In its natural range, it grows on coarse sandy soils[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It can however grow on a variety of soils. Good growth is obtained on deep sandy loam soil with adequate availability of moisture in lower layers. Shallow dry soils with hard layer beneath, which restricts root penetration, results in poor growth. In arid areas, the growth is better in dune lows than in sandy plains, which in turn offer better site than the dune tops. Good drainage is very essential and poorly drained soils are not suitable[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It does not survive long on pure sandy soils. On saline soils also it quickly dies out, but it can grow on slightly alkaline soils[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 8.5, tolerating 5.5 - 9.8[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Tolerant of hot, dry winds[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The trees start flowering and fruiting at an early age[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
This species has a life expectancy of 200 years or more[
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
].
Trees can be coppiced[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The plant produces a taproot that is more than 3 metres long[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

The pods are used as vegetable in the dried and green form[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Rich in protein[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

During India's Rajputana famine (1868 - 69), many lives were spared by using the sweetish bark as a food[303. It was ground into flour and made into cakes[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Medicinal

The plant is reported to be astringent, demulcent, and pectoral[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It is a folk remedy for various ailments[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The flowers are mixed with sugar and used to prevent miscarriage[303.

The ashes are rubbed over the skin to remove hair[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The bark is considered to be anthelmintic, refrigerant, and tonic[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. It is used for treating asthma, bronchitis, dysentery, leucoderma, leprosy, rheumatism, muscle tremors, piles, and wandering of the mind[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Smoke from the leaves is suggested for eye troubles[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The pod is said to be astringent[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Although recommended for scorpion sting and snakebite, the plant has not proved to be effective[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Owing to the deep root system, a mono-layered canopy and the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, the tree is compatible with agri-horticultural crops. It boosts the growth and productivity of other plants growing nearby. In addition, it does not compete for moisture with crop plants, which can, therefore, be grown close to its trunk[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
414
Title
Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Network
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/factnet.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of in-depth factsheets on a wide range of plants, especially leguminous trees.
].
The trees are planted to stabilize and reforest sand dunes[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
414
Title
Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Network
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/factnet.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of in-depth factsheets on a wide range of plants, especially leguminous trees.
]. They can withstand periodic burial by the sand[
414
Title
Forest, Farm, and Community Tree Network
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/factnet.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of in-depth factsheets on a wide range of plants, especially leguminous trees.
].
It increases fertility under its canopy[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Other Uses

The tree yields a pale to amber coloured gum with properties similar to the gum acacias (Acacia senegal)[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The bark and leaf galls are used for tanning[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Containing 31% soluble potassium salts, the wood ash may serve as a potash source[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

The wood is used for making boat frames, houses, posts, and tool handles; the poor form of unimproved trees limits its use as timber[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
In the Punjab, its rather scanty, purplish brown heartwood is preferred to other kinds for firewood[
491
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 57
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1976
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical magazine, this issue has a comprehensive treatment of the genus Prosopis as well as several other articles. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It is an excellent fuel, also giving high-quality charcoal (5,000 kcal/kg)[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Propagation

Seed - germinates best if the hard seed coat is softened first to allow the ingress of water. This can be done by adding a small amount of almost boiling water to the seed (which should cool down quickly enough so that it does not cook the seed!). Then soak the seed for 12 - 24 hours prior to sowing. Alternatively, carefully abrade an area of the seed coat, being careful not to damage the embryo.
The seeds retain their viability for at least one year[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The seed retains its viability for decades[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].
The tree reproduces freely by root suckers[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

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