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Useful Tropical Plants

Senegalia polyacantha

(Willd) Seigler & Ebinger

Fabaceae


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. The latest decision (in 2011 and still not fully accepted) is that this species is transferred to Senegalia[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Acacia campylacantha Hochst. ex A.Rich.

Acacia catechu suma (Roxb.) Roberty

Acacia polyacantha Willd.

Acacia suma Kurz ex Brandis

Common Name: White Thorn Tree

Senegalia polyacantha
Tree
Photograph by: Scamperdale
Creative Commons License
Senegalia polyacantha Senegalia polyacantha Senegalia polyacantha

General Information

White thorn tree is a fast-growing, deciduous tree growing about 10 - 25 metres tall. The tree has short, hooked thorns, usually less than 1cm long[
396
Title
Useful Trees and Shrubs in Eritrea
Publication
 
Author
Bein. E.; Habte. B.; Jaber. A.; Birnie. A. & Tengnas. B.
Publisher
Regional Soil Conservation Unit: Nairobi
Year
1996
ISBN
9966-896-24-4
Description
A very well written and concise guide to almost 200 species. It gives a brief description of each plant together with its habitat, uses, propagation and cultivation. Line drawings of each plant are also included It can be downloaded from the internet
].
The tree is harvested from the wild as a lesser important but still commercial source of gum, which is edible. It is also used locally as a medicine and source of materials, whilst it also has a good reputation for repelling snakes and crocodiles. The plant is grown as a hedge and also for improving soil fertility.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.

Range

Tropical Africa - drier areas from Senegal to Ethiopia and Eritrea, south to Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique and the Transvaal.

Habitat

Widespread, it is found in wooded grassland and woodland, usually on colluvial or alluvial clays and loams by rivers and streams at elevations of 50 - 1,460 metres[
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height15.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

The white thorn tree grows in tropical areas at elevations from 200 - 1,800 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.
]. It prefers areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 300 - 1,000mm[
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 sites with a high groundwater table, indicating eutrophic and fresh 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 alluvial soils with a good mix of clay and sand, though it occasionally prospers on stony slopes and compacted 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.
].
Young plants have a fast rate of growth[
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].
Like most acacias, flowering depends highly on the rains. The cream-white, sessile flowers are inserted in spikes up to 15 cm long. They are produced together with new leaves. After pollination by insects, straight fruits with distinctly narrow, thickened margin are developed within 6 months, fruits are tapered on both ends. When mature the pods turn greyish-brown. The seeding period can be observed approximately 6 months after flowering[
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.
].
Plants can be coppiced and pollarded[
396
Title
Useful Trees and Shrubs in Eritrea
Publication
 
Author
Bein. E.; Habte. B.; Jaber. A.; Birnie. A. & Tengnas. B.
Publisher
Regional Soil Conservation Unit: Nairobi
Year
1996
ISBN
9966-896-24-4
Description
A very well written and concise guide to almost 200 species. It gives a brief description of each plant together with its habitat, uses, propagation and cultivation. Line drawings of each plant are also included It can be downloaded from the internet
].
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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

A gum obtained from the stems is eaten[
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].
This species is a lesser source of gum arabic, which is more commonly obtained from A. Senegal[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. 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[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It is also used as an additive (E414) that retards the crystallization of sugar[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It is found especially in products such as chewing gum and confectionery[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
The resin is harvested after the rainy season by scraping it off the trunk and branches from which it oozes[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. Unhealthy trees tend to give higher yields and incisions are sometimes made into the bark in order to increase yields[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

The ashes of the burnt wood are used as a salt substitute[
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].

Medicinal

The plant (part not specified) is used to make an infusion in which to bath children who are restless at night[
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 roots are tonic and also used as an antidote for snake bites. They are also used in the treatment of venereal diseases[
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].

A decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of dysentery and gastro-intestinal disorders[
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

With its ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, it is planted to stabilize river banks and to improve the soil[
396
Title
Useful Trees and Shrubs in Eritrea
Publication
 
Author
Bein. E.; Habte. B.; Jaber. A.; Birnie. A. & Tengnas. B.
Publisher
Regional Soil Conservation Unit: Nairobi
Year
1996
ISBN
9966-896-24-4
Description
A very well written and concise guide to almost 200 species. It gives a brief description of each plant together with its habitat, uses, propagation and cultivation. Line drawings of each plant are also included It can be downloaded from the internet
].
The plant is sometimes grown as a living fence[
396
Title
Useful Trees and Shrubs in Eritrea
Publication
 
Author
Bein. E.; Habte. B.; Jaber. A.; Birnie. A. & Tengnas. B.
Publisher
Regional Soil Conservation Unit: Nairobi
Year
1996
ISBN
9966-896-24-4
Description
A very well written and concise guide to almost 200 species. It gives a brief description of each plant together with its habitat, uses, propagation and cultivation. Line drawings of each plant are also included It can be downloaded from the internet
].
The presence of the tree in the wild is said to be a good indicator that the land is suitable for growing tobacco and cotton[
396
Title
Useful Trees and Shrubs in Eritrea
Publication
 
Author
Bein. E.; Habte. B.; Jaber. A.; Birnie. A. & Tengnas. B.
Publisher
Regional Soil Conservation Unit: Nairobi
Year
1996
ISBN
9966-896-24-4
Description
A very well written and concise guide to almost 200 species. It gives a brief description of each plant together with its habitat, uses, propagation and cultivation. Line drawings of each plant are also included It can be downloaded from the internet
].

Other Uses

A gum obtained from the trunk is a minor source of gum arabic, more commonly obtained from A. senegal[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. It has a variety of uses, including as an adhesive, adding lustre to crape and silk, thickening colours, calico printing, manufacturing ink and as a mucilage[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].

The bark and the seedpods are sources of tannins[
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].
Chips of the heartwood are a source of tannins and dyestuffs[
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].

The smell of the tree is a useful repellent against snakes and crocodiles[
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 heartwood is red with blackish streaks; the sapwood white. The wood is hard, durable and termite resistant. It is difficult to saw or plane, but easy to polish. It is used for posts, poles, handles, wheels, farm tools etc[
396
Title
Useful Trees and Shrubs in Eritrea
Publication
 
Author
Bein. E.; Habte. B.; Jaber. A.; Birnie. A. & Tengnas. B.
Publisher
Regional Soil Conservation Unit: Nairobi
Year
1996
ISBN
9966-896-24-4
Description
A very well written and concise guide to almost 200 species. It gives a brief description of each plant together with its habitat, uses, propagation and cultivation. Line drawings of each plant are also included It can be downloaded from the internet
,
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].
The wood burns well, but the thorns make it difficult to handle[
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.
,
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
]. It is used for making charcoal[
396
Title
Useful Trees and Shrubs in Eritrea
Publication
 
Author
Bein. E.; Habte. B.; Jaber. A.; Birnie. A. & Tengnas. B.
Publisher
Regional Soil Conservation Unit: Nairobi
Year
1996
ISBN
9966-896-24-4
Description
A very well written and concise guide to almost 200 species. It gives a brief description of each plant together with its habitat, uses, propagation and cultivation. Line drawings of each plant are also included It can be downloaded from the internet
,
774
Title
Trees and Shrubs of the Sahel. Their Characteristics and Uses.
Publication
 
Author
von Maydell H.
Publisher
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit; Germany
Year
1990
ISBN
3-8236-1198-4
Description
A well-researched book, usually with more than one photograph of each species and good information on the plant and its uses.
].

Propagation

Seed - requires pre-soaking or scarification. To scarify, the seed coat should be nicked at the distal (cotyledon) end using a sharp tool like a scalpel, knife or nail clipper[
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.
]. Large quantities of seeds should be treated by pouring boiling water on them in a vessel. Then the seeds should be left for 24 hours in the water as it cools[
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.
]. Under ideal conditions, the seeds germinate within 10-21 days[
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 expected germination rate of mature, healthy and properly treated seed is 60-90%[
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.
].
Mature and properly dried seeds can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for at least 1 year, and at 10c for several years so long as the seed is not attacked by insects[
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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