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 there has been disagreement over the way this should be done. As of 2017, it is widely (but not completely) accepted that the section that includes the majority of the Australian species should retain the name Acacia, whilst other sections of the genus should be transferred to other genera. This species is transferred to Senegalia[
Acacia laeta R.Br. ex Benth.
Acacia trentiniani A.Chev.
Acacia laeta is a shrub or small tree growing about 6 metres tall.
The tree is harvested from the wild for several purposes, including its timber, edible gum and tannins, which are used locally. The tree is also cultivated locally for its gum[
Especially in times of drought, many Acacia species can concentrate high levels of the toxin Hydrogen cyanide in their foliage, making them dangerous for herbivores to eat.
Sub-Saharan Africa from Burkina Faso to Eritrea and Saudi Arabia, south to Tanzania.
Bushland and thicket, wooded grassland and woodland in semi-arid areas of Africa.[
]. Usually found on rocky or stony sites[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the arid tropics and subtropics, it is found growing at an altitude of 1,200 - 1,650 metres[
]. It grows best in areas with a mean annual temperature in the range 21 - 40°c and a mean annual rainfall of 250 - 750 mm[
Prefers a neutral to slightly alkaline, well-drained, clay or sandy loam[
]. Established plants are resistant to drought[
Hybridizes in the wild with A. Senegal[
]. There is evidence that this species may actually be a hybrid of A. Mellifera x A. Senegal[
Natural regeneration is poor in pure stands but occurs in neighbouring open spaces[
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[
The gum produced on the stems is edible[
]. The tree is a lesser source of gum arabic, more commonly obtained from A. senegal[
]. Gum arabic is used as follows:-
The resin obtained from the trunk is important in the food industry, where it is used as an emulsifier, stabilizer and flavour fixative[
]. It is also used as an additive (E414) that retards the crystallization of sugar[
]. It is found especially in products such as chewing gum and confectionery[
The resin is harvested after the rainy season by scraping it off the trunk and branches from which it oozes[
]. Unhealthy trees tend to give higher yields and incisions are sometimes made into the bark in order to increase yields[
The bark of all Acacia species contains greater or lesser quantities of tannins and are astringent. Astringents are often used medicinally - taken internally, for example. they are used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery, and can also be helpful in cases of internal bleeding. Applied externally, often as a wash, they are used to treat wounds and other skin problems, haemorrhoids, perspiring feet, some eye problems, as a mouth wash etc[
Many Acacia trees also yield greater or lesser quantities of a gum from the trunk and stems. This is sometimes taken internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and haemorrhoids[
The tree can tolerate repeated browsing giving it a good potential as a hedging tree[
A gum obtained from the trunk is a minor source of gum arabic, more commonly obtained from A. senegal[
]. It has a variety of uses, including adding lustre to crape and silk, thickening colours, calico printing, manufacturing ink and as a mucilage[
The bark is a source of tannins[
A fibre obtained from the bark is used for making ropes[
The wood is used in local construction and to make fence posts[
]. It is a suitable source of firewood and charcoal[
Fresh seed will germinate without pre-treatment coming up within 4-5 days. Older seed develops 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. Growth in the nursery is fast and seedlings can be ready within 15 weeks of sowing. Direct seeding is possible; cultivation in polythene pots in the nursery is practiced[
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