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Acacia senegal

Gum arabic tree

Garden

Wishlist

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Features

  • BloomsJanuary to May
  • Height4m to 7m
  • Speed of GrowthFast
  • Growth HabitArching bushy
  • Flower ColourYellow
  • Leaf ColourDark green

Description

Acacia senegal (Gum arabic tree). Also known as Senegalia senegal. This small, branching Acacia tree has long brush-like spikes of yellow flowers held over dark green leaves which are clusters of three to eight pairs of pinnae, each having between five to twenty five pairs of leaflets. The overall effect is feathery and graceful.

Characteristics

Woody perennial, Evergreen, Small tree

Origin

Sub-Saharan Africa, W India, Oman and Pakistan

Interest and use

Grown mainly for its gum (Gum Arabic) which is drained from cuts made in the bark and used as a food additive, as well as for glues and cosmetics. The first recorded use of this tree for Gum Arabic was by the first Egyptian Dynasty in 3400 B.C. for making ink. Also used in traditional medicine and by shamans for reaching altered states of consciousness. The roots are used for cordage, the wood used to make weaving and hunting tools, canoes and fence posts and the flowers are good forage for bees.

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Needs

  • LightFull sun
  • HardinessHalf hardy (min 0°C)
  • SoilWell drained, Light, Medium, Low salinity
  • Soil pH5.0 to 8.0
  • WaterDry

Cultivation

This plant can tolerate drought and heat, but not frost. This crop has an minimum optimum growing temperature of 24C and a maximum optimum growing temperature of 32C. Trees growing where there is plentiful water will not produce gum, as it is an adaptation to dry conditions.

Propagation

By seed which has been scarified.

Pests, diseases or disorders

Red spider mite, scale insects and mealy bug.

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