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 Vachellia[
Vachellia etbaica is a shrub or small tree with an open, often flattened crown; it can grow from 2.5 - 12 metres tall. The plant has sharp spines up to 28mm long, carried in pairs[
The tree has minor local uses as a timber and source of tannins, plus it also has local medicinal applications.
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.
Northeastern Africa - Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania.
Dry bushland, thickets, semi-desert scrub and wooded grasslands at elevations from sea level to 1,800 metres[
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A plant of the sesonal tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,800 metres. It grows in areas where the mean annual temperature is around 22.3°c and the mean annual rainfall 200 - 1,400mm[
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 bark is chewed as a stimulant and is also used in the treatment of gonorrhoea[
The leaves are used externally for the treatment of wounds and skin diseases[
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 bark is a source of tannins[
]. Bark harvested for its tannins should only be taken from mature stems, and only when the sap is rising at the beginning of the growing season - which is when the tannin content is highest and the bark is most easily removed from the wood[
The wood is used for agricultural tools, walking sticks etc[
]. It is utilized by local people to provide the pillars and beams to hold the heavy earthen roofs of houses in northern Ethiopia[
It is also a good firewood[
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. Seed germinates best at a temperature around 21°c[
]. Plants make a deep taproot and resent root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible[
Acacia seeds that have matured fully on the bush and have been properly dried have a hard seed coat and can be stored in closed containers without deterioration for 5 - 10 years or more in dry conditions at ambient temperatures. It is best to remove the aril, which attracts weevils and can lead to moulds forming. The arils are easilyremoved by placing the seeds in water and rubbing them between the hands, then drying the seeds and winnowing them[
Semi-ripe cuttings of lateral shoots[
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