Vachellia nilotica

Scientific nameVachellia nilotica
Fabaceae; Subfamily Mimosaceae
English: gum arabic, Nile thorn, prickly acacia, scented thorn
Indonesia: akasia
Viet Nam: keo a rap
Evergreen thorny tree or shrub [4–6 (–25) m]; usually singlestemmed, crown scattered when young, later umbrella-shaped; thorns greyish (up to 10 cm long); deep and well-developed root system.
Bark: In young trees tinge of orange and/or green; in older trees brown-black, rough and deeply grooved.
Leaves: Dark green, hairless, twice-divided with 3–10 pairs of leaf branchlets (4 cm long), each with 10–25 pairs of leaflets, which are narrow and somewhat elongated with almost parallel sides (2–6 mm long and 0.5– .5 mm wide); pair of spines (1–5 cm long) at base of each group of leaves in young stems.
Flowers: Pale to golden yellow globular flowerheads (1–1.5 cm across) on 2 cm long stalks, fragrant.
Fruits: Pods (several-seeded dry fruits that split open at maturity), green turning black as they mature, straight or slightly curved (10–20 cm long and 5–17 mm wide), constrictions between each seed in the pod resemble a string of pearls.
India, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan and Yemen.
Fuelwood, building materials, timber, tools, medicine, chicorysubstitute in coffee, fodder, nitrogen fixation, soil conservation, windbreak, firebreak, shade and ornament.
Roadsides, disturbed land, urban open space, drainage ditches, irrigation channels, woodland edges/gaps, savannah and natural pasture.
In Queensland, Australia, tree cover of just 25–30% has reduced the amount of pasture by 50% (Carter, 1994). Dense thickets also make it difficult to herd livestock, and animals have reduced access to water. In Indonesia, A. nilotica in Baluran National Park has reduced the amount of grazing available for herbivores, threatening the continued existence of the endangered banteng (Bos javanicus d’Alton; Bovidae). Infestations also contribute to increase soil erosion. Because the tree fixes nitrogen it also impacts on soil nutrient cycling.
Witt, Arne. 2017. Guide to the Naturalized and Invasive Plants of Southeast Asia. CAB International. Retrieved from on 24 October 2018
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Last updated on 02/15/2019 00:34