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 canescens (Britton ex Britton & Killip) García-Barr. & Forero
Acacia lanata M.Martens & Galeotti
Acacia pennatula (Schltdl. & Cham.) Benth.
Inga pennatula Schltdl. & Cham.
Pithecellobium minutissimum M.E.Jones
Poponax pennatula (Schltdl. & Cham.) Britton & Rose
Vachellia pennatula is a semideciduous tree, usually with a broad, spreading, flat-topped crown; it usually grows 3 - 10 metres tall, occasionally to 12 metres. The short, straight bole can be up to 25cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild mainly as a source of fuel and fence posts, but also as a medicine, source of tannins and possibly as a food. It can be grown to provide shade in plantations and to prevent soil erosion. It is quite probably a good species to choose within its native range as a pioneer to restore native woodlands and establish woodland gardens.
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.
S. America - Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela; C. America - Nicaragua to Mexico.
Sparsely distributed in dry habitats, often occurring in association with pine and oak; it is a characteristic element in very extensive areas of dry subtropical mattoral vegetation and in dry thorn scrub forest[
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A plant of drier areas in the tropics and subtropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 2,000 metres. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature is within the range 19 - 28°c, and the mean annual rainfal: 500 - 1,800mm[
]. Its ability to resist frost accounts for its successes in subtropical trials at Himachal Pradesh, India[
Requires a position in full sun[
]. Normally found growing on shallow, poorly developed soils, well developed acid soils derived from volcanic material, and well developed acid soils with a low base saturation and rich in organic matter, preferring the latter[
This species is regarded as a highly invasive weed species threatening pasturelands[
A fast-growing tree[
The tree responds well to coppicing[
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[
There are a few reports on the regular human consumption of flour made from the pods or seeds of this plant[
The bark is used as a remedy for indigestion[
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[
Trees are grown along with coffee in plantations[
The spreading root system, and the tree's ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, make it valuable in erosion control[
The tree is regarded as being highly invasive of pastures. This means that it is quite probably a good species to choose within its native range as a pioneer to restore native woodlands and establish woodland gardens.
The bark is a source of tannins[
The wood is used as a source of building materials, particularly fence posts - however, these have to be replaced
every 3 - 5 years[
The wood is commonly used as a source of fuel and charcoal[
Seed - it has a hard seedcoat and benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve 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.
The hardness of the small round seed allows it to be stored for long periods with little loss of viability, provided it is kept dry and cool[
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