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 bussei Harms ex Y.Sjöstedt
Vachellia bussei is a shrub or a tree, usually flat-crowned and with a well-defined trunk, though sometimes branching from the base; it usually grows 3 - 10 metres tall, occasionally reaching 16 metres[
This species is the main source of charcoal in Somalia, where it is extensively harvested from the wild for local use. It also supplies food and other materials for local use[
Acacia bussei is overexploited in Somalia as a source of charcoal, but it has a wide distribution in eastern Africa and doesn't appear to be threatened at present. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
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 - Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania
Dry Acacia-Commiphora bushland, bushed grassland, Acacia-Commiphora-Combretum woodland, mostly on sandy soils; deciduous bushland, dry scrub; associated with Delonix elata, Gyrocarpus angustifolia; at elevations up to 1,800 metres[
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Requires a sunny position. It can be found on a wide range of soils from red sands to black cotton (clay) as well as on limestone outcrops[
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[
Young thorns are edible[
An edible gum exudes from the trunk and branches[
Seeds - cooked. Ground into a powder[
]. The seedpods are 20 - 65mm. Long and 8 - 15mm wide with more or less obovate-compressed seeds 5mm long and 4 - 4.5mm wide[
Acacia seeds (this report refers to the Australian species)) are highly nutritious and contain around 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat. The fat content is higher than most legumes with the aril providing the bulk of fatty acids present. These fatty acids are largely unsaturated. The energy content is high in all species tested, averaging 1480 ±270 kJ per 100g. The seeds are low glycaemic index foods - the starch is digested and absorbed very slowly, producing a small, but sustained rise in blood glucose and so delaying the onset of exhaustion in prolonged exercise[
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[
A fibre obtained from the bark and root bark is used for making rope. The root bark fibres are also used for making storage sacks and string-hanging doors[
The wood makes a good fuel and an excellent charcoal[
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.
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[
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