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Acacia nilotica also known as gum Arabic tree, babul or Egyptian thorn – a perennial

Image of Acacia nilotica plant at Google

Acacia nilotica which is also known as gum Arabic tree, babul, Egyptian thorn, Sant tree, Al-sant or prickly acacia, also called thorn mimosa in Australia; lekkerruikpeul or scented thorn in South Africa is a perennial that can grow up to a height of 5-20 m. This belongs to Acacia species and is a native to Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

This acacia has a dense crown that is sphere in shape and the branches are dark to black in color. The bark is fissured and grey-pinkish in color. This acacia releases reddish gum. The tree has straight and thin spines that are grey in color. They come in axillary pairs which are 3-12 pairs and are about 5-7.5cm in length. The leaves come in 3-6 pairs with 10-30 pairs of leaflets each. The flowers are globulous which about 1.2-1.5 cm in diameter is. The flowers are golden yellow in color. They are axillary to whorly.

The plant is used as Forage and fodder to cattle, poultry. This tree makes excellent hedge for protection as it has thorns. It is a demulcent and treats gonorrhea, leucorrhoea, diarrhea, dysentery or diabetes. The bark is used for cough and acts as an astringent. It treats diarrhea, dysentery, and leprosy. Its roots are used for aphrodisiac and to cure impotence. The gum is used to treat cancers, tumors, indurations of spleen and liver. The leaves are used for ulcers. The root is used for treating tuberculosis. The wood is used to treat smallpox.

The subspecies of this variety of acacia is:
– Acacia nilotica subsp. adstringens (Schum. & Thonn.) Brenan
– Acacia nilotica subsp. cupressiformis
– Acacia nilotica subsp. hemispherica
– Acacia nilotica subsp. indica (Benth.) Brenan
– Acacia nilotica subsp. kraussiana (Benth.) Brenan
– Acacia nilotica subsp. leiocarpa Brenan
– Acacia nilotica subsp. nilotica
– Acacia nilotica subsp. subalata (Vatke) Brenan
– Acacia nilotica subsp. tomentosa (Benth.) Brenan

Growing/Caring conditions for Acacia nilotica:
– Plant or seed in a location where temperatures do not go below 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Place in a location with full sunlight.
– The plant needs to be misted.
– Let the soil be dry between the watering.
– If the soil gets too dry, the leaves will drop.
– The tree needs to feed every 15 to 20 days with a fertilizer which has low nitrogen levels.
– This helps in more bloom production.
– Prune the branches from spring to autumn.
– Prune every other year.
– Do not prune the leaves as the leaves are compound in this plant.
– Repot the plant two to four years.
– These plants attract flies, mites, aphids and thrips and hence protect the plants from these pests.
– Protect the plant from the typical disease called Anthracnose.
– This disease infects the leaves.
– Fertilize with a layer of compost on soil.

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