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[
Acacia abyssinica Hochst. ex Benth.
Acacia xiphocarpa Hochst. ex Benth.
Common Name: Umbrella Thorn
Vachellia abyssinica is a thorny deciduous tree that can grow from 6 - 20 metres tall, usually with more than one stem. The crown is flattened and spreading, it can be up to 30 metres accross[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials. It can be used as a pioneer species when restoring native woodland and is grown as an ornamental.
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.
Eastern tropical Africa - Eritrea to Ethiopia, south to southern Congo, Zambia and Mozambique
Montane forest, woodland, wooded grassland, on hills; forest margins, along sides of streams and rivers (subsp. abyssinica); in fire-swept grassland above 1680 metres; often as a forest pioneer tree[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Vachellia abyssinica is a plant of the tropical and subtropical zones, where it is found at elevations up to 2,300 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 30°c, but can tolerate 10 - 40°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -9°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 0°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 450 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 300 - 1,500mm[
Requires a sunny position[
]. Grows best in a well-drained soil of a light to medium texture[
]. A good plant for growing on degraded land and along gullies[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 5 - 7.5[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
The plant is grown as an ornamental. It is not recommended for growing around homesteads, however, since branches tend to fall off[
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 plant has medicinal uses[
]. No more information is given
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[
Vachellia abyssinica is often found in disturbed habitats such as burnt grassland where its fast growth and ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen can create a suitable environment for other trees to grow in[
]. It can be used as a pioneer when restoring native woodland[
The flowers are a good source of nectar for bees[
The plant has wide-spreading roots and is useful in soil stabilization projects[
A gum is obtained from the trunk[
]. No more detail are given.
The wood is used for poles and posts[
The wood makes a good fuel and a charcoal[
Seed - the hard coat needs to be scarified in order to allow water to enter. It should then be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing[
]. Seed germinates best at a temperature around 21°c[
]. Germination rates, even of scarified seed, tends to be quite low, with the seeds sprouting within 30 - 50 days[
]. Plants make a deep taproot and resent root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible[
Semi-ripe cuttings of lateral shoots[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.