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Acacia polyacantha

   (Family: Fabaceae)
Afrikaans: Witdoring English: White-stem thorn Xhosa: Umnga  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Tree No.: 180
Height: 10 - 25m
Special properties:
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
pH: neutral
Flowering time EDIT
                x x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
  Flower scent EDIT
  Sweetly scented
  Flower info
  The flowers that appear from September to December are light yellow to cream.
Bark / Stem type    Has thorns / Spines
  Leaf info EDIT
  The leaves are twice compound with 14-35 pairs of pinnae and 20-60 leaflets per pinna. Leaves are fairly large and arranged singly along the shoots. The upper surface of the leaves is darker than the underside, and mostly with hairs on the margins and on the leaf stalk.
Fruit colour
  Seeds per fruit 10
Seed colour
  Seed info EDIT
  The seed pods are flat and appear shiny green, turning to a light brown colour as they ripen and then dry out. The number of seeds per pod varies from 3 to10 and they are also fairly flattened, and dark brown when ripe.
Description EDIT
An attractive tree that grows to an average height of 10-15 m, exceptionally large trees may reach a height of 25 m.

Flowers are light yellow to cream.

The stem of younger trees appears yellowish with papery bark and persisting prickles. As it gets older, the bark gets smoother and whitish grey, with bark flakes sometimes present.
Growing EDIT
The white-stem thorn tree can be propagated from seeds, which may be immersed in boiling water and soaked overnight to soften the hard, outer seed coat. They may then be sown in well-drained, sifted potting soil and placed in a warm place until they germinate. Germination may take between 1 and 4 weeks. The seedlings may be pricked out at the two-leaf stage or left until they are larger and more established. Care should be taken not to damage the delicate root system. They may then be planted in individual containers and kept in full sun or dappled shade and watered well. Saplings may be ready to be planted out after two to four years, depending on the size required.
Distribution EDIT
The tree often grows in the moist, subtropical bushveld of Africa, usually in alluvial soils near rivers. It is widespread in tropical Africa, occurring from Gambia to Ethiopia and southwards to Kenya and Zimbabwe. It has a limited distribution in South Africa, being found only in Limpopo. Some specimens can be found in the Kruger National Park, in the Punda Maria and Pafuri areas. The typical subspecies is known only from India and Sri Lanka.
History EDIT
Acacia comes from the Greek word akantha, meaning thorn and polycantha, which means many thorns.
Tall enough to make a good street tree, or suitable for large gardens.

The white-stem thorn tree yields gum that is normally used in confectionery and as an adhesive, while the bark is used in tanning.
The roots and possibly bark are used for medicinal and magical purposes. With its strong odour, the root appears to be avoided by animals. It is placed among the rafters of the house to repel snakes. In rural areas, the root is placed on crossing areas in the rivers to ward off crocodiles. Root infusion is used to treat snakebites, and also to bathe children who are restless at night.
Ecology EDIT
The tree is a larval food plant for the butterfly Anthene crawshayi crawshayi.
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