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Acacia Senegal also known as Rfaudraksha is a small deciduous tree

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Acacia senegal which is also known as Rfaudraksha, Gum Acacia, Gum Arabic Tree, or Gum Senegal Tree is a small deciduous tree that can grow up to a height of 5-12m, with a trunk up to 30 cm in diameter. This tree is native to semi-desert regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Oman, Pakistan, and northwestern India.

The new foliage of the tree is useful for forage and the seeds when dried are used as food. This tree produces gum Arabic and hence the name too which is a food additive, used for crafts and in cosmetics. This gum is obtained by cutting the barks. The liquid keeps oozing out of the cut bark which can be collected.

This tree soothes mucous membranes and treats inflamed skin. This tree treats diarrhea, gonorrhea, leprosy, typhoid fever, bleeding, bronchitis, and upper respiratory tract infections.
The roots are used for making strong ropes and cords. Even the bark is used for making rope. The wood is strong enough to make handles for tools and for weaving looms.

The other botanical varieties of this acacia are:
– Acacia senegal var. leiorhachis Brenan
– Acacia senegal var. rostrata Brenan
– Acacia senegal var. senegal

The plant is useful medically too in treatment of cough and cold and painful throat. It cures diarrhea, lowers high blood pressure. This acacia promotes digestion, soothes infection and irritations of the skin. It is also used as dye and to preserve fabrics from weather, mildew and marine exposure. The bark is rusty brown and wood is reddish brown.

The plants leaves are compound and pinnate and petioles are vertically flat. They are feather like and in light to medium green in color. They are also known as phyllodes. These phyllodes protect the tree from sunlight and some acacias do not have phyllodes. In plants lacking phyllodes, cladodes exist. Cladodes are leaf like photosynthetic stems which are actually modified leaves. The flowers are small and dense. They appear in globular or cylindrical cluster forms. The flowers range from purple, red to yellow and white. The plants have spines and branches are short, pungent and hard. Their seeds are known to germinate with great difficulty. They need to be put to temperatures of 80 degree C.

Growing/Caring conditions for Acacia Senegal:
– 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.
– Re-pot 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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