Acacia (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Acacia (Sturtevant, 1919)


Acacia. Leguminosae.

From various acacias comes gum arabic which is stated by some to be a highly nutritrious article of food. During the whole time of the gum harvest in Barbary, the Moors of the desert live almost entirely upon it.

It is claimed that six ounces are sufficient for the support of a man during twenty-four hours. Gum arabic is also used as food by the Hottentots of southern Africa, and Sparmann states that, in the absence of other provisions, the Bushmen live on it for days together[1]. At Swan River, Australia, an acacia, called manna by the natives, produces a large quantity of gum resembling gum arable, and this, says Drummond[2], forms an important article of native food. The experiment of Magendie[3], however, showed that dogs could not support life on gum, and Dr. Hammond[4] believes that, so far from having any value as an alimentary substance, it is positively injurious.

  1. Rhind, W. Hist. Veg. King. 557. 1855.
  2. Hooker, W. J. Journ. Bot. 2:359. 1840.
  3. Stille, A. Therap. Mat. Med. 1:113. 1874.
  4. Stille, A. Therap. Mat. Med. 1:113. 1874.

Acacia abyssinica

Acacia abyssinica Hochst. Abyssinia.

Hildebrant mentions that gum is collected from this species[1].

  1. Flückiger and Hanbury Pharm. 234. 1879.

Acacia arabica

Acacia arabica Willd. BABOOL-BARK. GUM ARABIC TREE. SUNTWOOD. North and central Africa and Southwest Asia.

It furnishes a gum arable of superior quality[1]. The bark, in times of scarcity, is ground and mixed with flour in India[2], and the gum, mixed with the seeds of sesame, is an article of food with the natives[3]. The gum serves for nourishment, says Humboldt[4], to several African tribes in their passages through the dessert. In Barbary, the tree is called atteleh.

  1. U. S. Disp. 6. 1865.
  2. Brandis, D. Forest Fl. 182. 1874.
  3. Drury, H. Useful Pls. Ind. 5. 1858.
  4. Humboldt, A. Polit. Essay New Spain 2:423. 1811.

Acacia bidwilli

Acacia bidwilli Benth. Australia.

The roots of young trees are roasted for food after peeling[1].

  1. Palmer, E. Journ. Roy. Soc. New So. Wales 17:93. 1884.

Acacia catechu

Acacia catechu Willd. CATECHU. KHAIR. WADALEE-GUM TREE. East Indies.

Furnishes catechu, which is chiefly used for chewing in India as an ingredient of the packet of betel leaf[1].

  1. Dutt, U. C. Mat. Med. Hindus 158. 1877.

Acacia concinna

Acacia concinna DC. SOAP-POD. Tropical Asia.

The leaves are acid and are used in cookery by the natives of India as a substitute for tamarinds. It is the fei-tsau-tau of the Chinese. The beans are about one-half to three-fourths inch in diameter and are edible after roasting[1].

  1. Smith, F. P. Contrib. Mat. Med. China I. 1871.

Acacia decora

Acacia decora Reichb. Australia.

The gum is gathered and eaten by Queensland natives[1].

  1. Palmer, E. Journ. Roy. Soc. New So. Wales 17:94. 1884.

Acacia decurrens

Acacia decurrens Willd. BLACK WATTLE. GREEN WATTLE. SILVER WATTLE. Australia.

It yields a gum not dissimilar to gum arabic[1].

  1. Mueller, F. Sel. Pls. 4. 1891.

Acacia ehrenbergiana

Acacia ehrenbergiana Hayne. Desert regions of Libya, Nubia, Dongola.

It yields a gum arabic[1].

  1. U. S. Disp. 6. 1865.

Acacia farnesiana


This species is cultivated all over India and is indigenous in America, from New Orleans, Texas and Mexico, to Buenos Aires and Chile, and is sometimes cultivated. It exudes a gum which is collected in Sind[1]. The flowers distil a delicious perfume.

  1. Brandis, D. Forest Fl. 180. 1876.

Acacia ferruginea

Acacia ferruginea DC. India.

The bark steeped in "jaggery water" — fresh, sweet sap from any of several palms — is distilled as an intoxicating liquor. It is very astringent[1].

  1. Drury, H. Useful Pls. Ind. 8. 1858.

Acacia flexicaulis

Acacia flexicaulis Benth. Texas.

The thick, woody pods contain round seeds the size of peas which, when boiled, are palatable and nutritious[1].

  1. Havard, V. Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. 499 1885.

Acacia glaucophylla

Acacia glaucophylla Steud. Tropical Africa.

This species furnishes gum arabic[1].

  1. Flückiger and Hanbury Pharm. 234. 1879.

Acacia gummifera

Acacia gummifera Willd. BARBARY-GUM. MOROCCO-GUM. North Africa.

It yields gum arabic in northern Africa[1].

  1. Mueller, F. Sel. Pls. 3. 1876.

Acacia homalophylla

Acacia homalophylla A. Cunn. MYALL-WOOD. VIOLET-WOOD.

This species yields gum in Australia[1].

  1. Baillon, H. Hist. Pls. 2:51. 1872.

Acacia horrida

Acacia horrida Willd. CAPE-GUM TREE. DORNBOOM. South Africa.

This is the dornboom plant which exudes a good kind of gum[1].

  1. Mueller, F. Sel. Pls. 7. 1891.

Acacia leucophloea

Acacia leucophloea Willd. KUTEERA-GUM. Southern India.

The bark is largely used in the preparation of spirit from sugar and palm-juice, and it is also used in times of scarcity, ground and mixed with flour. The pods are used as a vegetable, and the seeds are ground and mixed with flour[1].

  1. Brandis, D. Forest Fl. 184. 1874.

Acacia longifolia

Acacia longifolia Willd. SYDNEY GOLDEN WATTLE.

Australia. The Tasmanians roast the pods and eat the starchy seeds[1].

  1. Baillon. H. Hist. Pls. 2:52. 1872. (A. sophorae)

Acacia pallida

Acacia pallida F. Muell. Australia.

The roots of the young trees are roasted and eaten[1].

  1. Palmer, E. Journ. Roy. Soc. New So. Wales 17:94. 1884.

Acacia penninervis

Acacia penninervis Sieber. BLACKWOOD. MOUNTAIN HICKORY. Australia.

This species yields gum gonate, or gonatic, in Senegal[1].

  1. Baillon, H. Hist. Pls. 2:50. 1872. (A. adstringens)

Acacia Senegal

Acacia Senegal Willd. GUM ARABIC TREE. Old World tropics.

The tree forms vast forests in Senegambia. It is called nebul by the natives[1] and furnishes gum arabic.

  1. Brandis, D. Forest Fl. 186. 1874. (A. verek)

Acacia seyal

Acacia seyal Delile. GUM ARABIC TREE. THIRSTY THORN. WHISTLING-TREE. North Africa, Upper Egypt and Senegambia.

It furnishes the best gum arabic[1]. It is called glute by the Arabs of the upper Nile and whistling tree by the natives of Sudan. The holes left by the departure of a gall insect are rendered musical by the wind[2].

  1. Mueller, P. Sel. Pls. 12. 1891.
  2. Schweinfurth, G. Heart Afr. I:97-98. 1874. (A. fistula)

Acacia stenocarpa

Acacia stenocarpa Hochst. GUM ARABIC TREE. Southern Nubia and Abyssinia.

The gum of this tree is extensively collected in the region between the Blue Nile and the upper Atbara. It is called taleh, talha or kakul[1].

  1. Flückiger and Hanbury Pharm. 206. 1879.

Acacia suaveolens

Acacia suaveolens Willd. Australia.

The aromatic leaves are used in infusions as teas[1].

  1. Baillon, H. Hist. Pls. 2: 56. 1872.

Acacia tortilis

Acacia tortilis Hayne. Arabia, Nubia and the desert of Libya and Dongola.

It furnishes the best of gum arabic[1].

  1. Mueller, F. Sel. Pls. 1. 1880.