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Acacia albida

   (Family: Mimosaceae)
   
English: Apple-Ring Acacia, Ana Tree, Winter Thorn  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Tree No.: 159
Height: 20m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily),
Clay (fine texture, holds a lot of water),
Loam (gritty, moist, and retains water easily)
 
Flowering time EDIT
x     x             x  
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
Yellow
Flower type
 
  Flower info
  Flowers are yellow spikes 10–12.5 cm long
 
 
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf texture Smooth
Bark / Stem type    Has thorns / Spines
 
 
Leaf size 010mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Deciduous
  Tree puts out leaves during dry season and sheds them during rains. Leaves pale and glaucous, bluish grey, glabrous or pubescent, 2-pinnate, 9 to numerous pairs of pinnae, cup-like glands on rachis, each pinna with 12 or more pairs of leaflets, leaflets oblong, up to 1 cm long, hairy, unequal at base
 
 
Fruit colour
Yellow
Green
Fruit size Length: 150mm   Width: 40mm
 
  Seeds per fruit 12
  Seed info EDIT
  Fruits are bright yellowish green when dry, up to 12–15 x 4 cm, slightly curved, ends rounded
 
 
Description EDIT
Acacia albida is a widely used tree well documented for increasing the yields of crops grown under it.

A large thorny tree up to 20 m high and >2 m in diameter; bole forming up to 1/3 of height of tree; bark dull grey, fissured when old, crown dense; tree puts out leaves during dry season and sheds them during rains; branchlets light grey, spiny only at nodes, spines straight, up to 1 in. long; leaves pale and glaucous, bluish grey, glabrous or pubescent, 2-pinnate, 9 to numerous pairs of pinnae, cup-like glands on rachis, each pinna with 12 or more pairs of leaflets, leaflets oblong, up to 1 cm long, hairy, unequal at base; flowers (Jan., Apr., Nov.) in yellow spikes 10–12.5 cm long; fruits (Jan., May, Nov.) bright yellowish green when dry, up to 12–15 x 4 cm, slightly curved, ends rounded (Irvine, 1961).
Growing EDIT
Tolerates poor soil, drought, savanna, and some waterlogging.

Seeds devoid of bruchid holes should be scarified and started in deep containers to accomodate development of the tap root. Good-sized plants develop in 10–14 weeks, but frequent root pruning is advised. Transplants from the wild are usually unsuccessful because of the long tap root.

Nursery plantings, spaced at 10 x 10 m may require watering at first, and protection from grazing animals for 5–8 years.

Caterpillars, locusts, and grazing animals may destroy the seedlings.
Distribution EDIT
Native to the Transvaal and Southwest Africa, through West and North Africa to Egypt, East Africa.
History EDIT
Previously known as Faidherbia albida.
Uses EDIT
It is held sacred by the Africans of the Transvaal. In Nigeria, the pod is used as camel food. The gum that exudes spontaneously from the trunk is sometimes collected like gum arabic.

Wood is used for canoes, mortars, and pestles. The bark is pounded in Nigeria and used as a packing material on pack animals. Ashes of the wood are used in making soap and as a depilatory and tanning agent for hides.

Pods and foliage are highly regarded as livestock fodder.

Rhodesians use the pods to stupefy fish. Humans eat the boiled seeds in times of scarcity in Rhodesia.

Reported to serve as an emetic in fevers (Masai), taken for diarrhea in Tanganyika. Also used for colds, diarrhea, hemorrhage, and ophthalmia in West Africa. The bark of the Ana tree is a folk remedy for diarrhea among several tribes. On the Ivory Coast it is used for leprosy. The bark decoction curtails nausea. A liniment, made by steeping the bark, is used for bathing and massage in pneumonia. The bark infusion is used for difficult delivery, and is used as a febrifuge for cough (Irvine, 1961). Pods worn as charm by African women and children to avert smallpox.
Ecology EDIT
It is the only species which loses its leaves during the rainy season; therefore, farming under these trees is not only possible but profitable.

Probably ranging from Tropical Thorn to Subtropical Moist Forest Life Zones, the Ana Tree is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 3 to 6dm. Irvine (1961) describes it as the largest thorn tree in Savanna Forest, especially in inhabited areas; often left untouched, sometimes gregarious. In more mesic Sahelian regions (400–600 mm/yr), yields of millet, peanuts, and sorghum are increased from ca 500 to ca 900 kg/ha/yr by growing under the canopy of Acacia albida (Felker, 1978). Does best in sandy soils, growing well where millet grows. Though faring best on sandy soils, it will tolerate heavier soils with some waterlogging.
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References

 
  • Irvine, F.R. (1961), Woody plants of Ghana. Oxford University Press. London.  
 
 

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