Acacia gourmaensis (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
Introduction
List of species


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Acacia gourmaensis A.Chev.


Protologue: Bull. Soc. Bot. France, mém. 8: 167 (1912).
Family: Mimosaceae (Leguminosae - Mimosoideae)

Origin and geographic distribution

Acacia gourmaensis is distributed in the southern part of the Sahel from Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso eastwards to Niger and Nigeria.

Uses

The bark of the stem and root yields a fibre used for making rope and wickerwork. Young branches, leaves and pods are browsed by goats, sheep and camels. The wood is used for making tool handles. It is also used as fuelwood and for making charcoal. Honey bees feed on the flowers. In Burkina Faso the powdered bark is used for the control of Striga spp. An edible gum is obtained from the bark.

The roots are chewed in Burkina Faso to overcome convulsive coughing. In Benin the leafy twigs are used in meals and this would help to heal fractures. The bark is a purgative. Unspecified plant parts are used for the treatment of malaria and liver problems.

Properties

The wood is hard. The leaves have a crude protein content of 21%.

Botany

Shrub or small tree up to 4(–8) m tall; bark thick, corky, with thin corky scales, grey to brown; twigs (nearly) glabrous, yellowish, turning black when bark scales off, lenticellate; crown narrow and open; branchlets with paired, hooked spines, c. 5 mm long. Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound, with 3–4(–5) pairs of pinnae; stipules linear, soon deciduous; petiole 0.5–1.5 cm long with small gland halfway; rachis 1–6 cm long, with or without gland at junction with top pinna pair; leaflets in 1 pair per pinna, 1–17 mm × 2.5–9 mm, asymmetrically ovate, glabrous. Inflorescence an axillary, lax, elongated, spike-like raceme, 1–2 per leaf axil, 3–5 cm long. Flowers 4–6-merous, yellowish-white or cream, scented; corolla glabrous, 2.5–3.5 mm long; stamens numerous, free. Fruit an oblong, flat, papery pod, 2.5–6.5 cm × 1.5–2 cm, dehiscent, glabrous, 1–2-seeded. Seeds round in outline, flattened, 8–10 mm in diameter, brown. Seedling with epigeal germination.

Acacia gourmaensis flowers at the end of the rainy season.

Acacia is a large pantropical genus, comprising more than 1300 species; most of them are found in Australia (more than 900), more than 200 in America, and about 130 in Africa. Acacia gourmaensis belongs to subgenus Acacia, which accommodates all the African Acacia species with straight spinescent stipules. The species shares certain uses and has been confused with Acacia mellifera (Vahl) Benth. that has a more eastern and southern distribution.

Ecology

Acacia gourmaensis occurs in the Guinean and Sudano-Guinean savanna zones with an average annual rainfall of 600–1250 mm, on well-drained heavy and loamy soils and on ironstone and ferruginous soils.

Management

The 1000-seed weight is 75–90 g when air-dry. Treatment with hot water increased germination from 30% to 60%. To improve germination seed can also be scarified e.g. by chipping with a knife. Well stored seed should give a germination of c. 90%. Large-scale planting is feasible but trials have shown that growth is slow and therefore other species of Acacia are preferred.

Genetic resources

Acacia gourmaensis is considered not threatened.

Prospects

For the production of fibre and timber there are better choices than Acacia gourmaensis. For gum production and for the claimed effect of the stem bark on Striga spp., further research may be worthwhile.

Major references

  • Arbonnier, M., 2004. Trees, shrubs and lianas of West African dry zones. CIRAD, Margraf Publishers Gmbh, MNHN, Paris, France. 573 pp.
  • Burkill, H.M., 1995. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 3, Families J–L. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 857 pp.
  • Ross, J.H., 1979. A conspectus of the African Acacia species. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa No 44. 155 pp.
  • von Maydell, H.-J., 1983. Arbres et arbustes du Sahel: leurs caractéristiques et leurs utilisations. Schriftenreihe der GTZ 147. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, Eschborn, Germany. 531 pp.

Other references

  • Adjanohoun, E.J., Adjakidjè, V., Ahyi, M.R.A., Aké Assi, L., Akoègninou, A., d’Almeida, J., Apovo, F., Boukef, K., Chadare, M., Cusset, G., Dramane, K., Eyme, J., Gassita, J.N., Gbaguidi, N., Goudote, E., Guinko, S., Houngnon, P., Lo, I., Keita, A., Kiniffo, H.V., Kone-Bamba, D., Musampa Nseyya, A., Saadou, M., Sodogandji, T., De Souza, S., Tchabi, A., Zinsou Dossa, C. & Zohoun, T., 1989. Contribution aux études ethnobotaniques et floristiques en République Populaire du Bénin. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 895 pp.
  • Chikamai, B., 1997. Production, markets and quality control of gum arabic in Africa: findings and recommendations from an FAO Project. In: Conservation, management and utilization of plant gums, resins, and essential oils: Proceedings of a Regional conference for Africa held in Nairobi, Kenya October 1997. [Internet] http://www.fao.org/ docrep/X0098e/x0098e04.htm. January 2011.
  • Delwaulle, J.-C., 1979. Plantations forestières en Afrique tropicale sèche. Techniques et espèces à utiliser. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 187: 3–30.
  • Geerling, C., 1982. Guide de terrain des ligneux Sahéliens et Soudano-Guinéens. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 82–3. Wageningen, Netherlands. 340 pp.
  • Guinko, S., 1997. Rôle des Acacias dans le développement rural au Burkina Faso et au Niger, Afrique de l'Ouest. In: Barreteau, D. & Dognin, R. (Editors). L'homme et le milieu végétal dans le bassin du lac Tchad. Réseau Méga Tchad, Frankfurt, Germany. pp. 35–51.
  • Kerharo, J. & Bouquet, A., 1950. Plantes médicinales et toxiques de la Côte d’Ivoire - Haute-Volta. Vigot Frères, Paris, France. 291 pp.
  • Lock, J.M., 1989. Legumes of Africa: a check-list. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 619 pp.
  • Traoré, H., Yonli, D., Zomboudré, G., Dabré, M. & Lingani, P., 1998. Perception paysanne du problème du Striga et inventaire des méthodes endogènes de lutte dans l'est du Burkina Faso. In: Ministère des Enseignements Secondaire, Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique/ Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (Editeurs). Recherche scientifique et développement durable. Actes 3e édition du Forum National de la Recherche Scientifique et des Innovations Technologiques (FRSIT), avril 1998. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Tome 2: Les communications. pp. 378–386.
  • Zaré, A., 1991. Synthèses partielles des essais de conservation de semences de quelques espèces. Rapport de stage 3è année, Institut du Développement Rural (IDR), Université de Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 63 pp.

Author(s)

  • C.H. Bosch, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Bosch, C.H., 2011. Acacia gourmaensis A.Chev. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp>.

Accessed 26 November 2017.