Faidherbia albida (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
Introduction
List of species


Faidherbia albida (Del.) A. Chev.


Family: Leguminosae - Mimosoideae

Synonyms

Acacia albida Del.

Vernacular names

  • Apple-ring acacia, white acacia (En). Arbre blanc (Fr).

Distribution

Widespread in tropical and subtropical Africa and the Middle East; introduced into many other areas, including South-East Asia.

Uses

Shade tree and soil improver in seasonally dry areas. The tree is excellent for interplanting as it is leafless during the rainy season and provides shade during the hot, dry season. Fuelwood is generally harvested by lopping branches from living trees. Foliage and pods supply forage, medicine, and toxins. The seeds contain about 27% protein. The bark contains tannins. The wood ash can be used for soap.

Observations

Tree, 6-30 m tall, with rough, dark brown or greenish-grey bark and spreading branches. Young branches whitish. Leaves bipinnately compound; stipules spiny, up to 2 cm long, straight, not inflated; rachis with a conspicuous gland at junction of each of the 3-10 pairs of pinnae; leaflets 6-23 pairs, (2.5-)3.5-6(-12) mm × 0.7-2.5(-4) mm. Inflorescence a spike 3.5-14 cm long; peduncle 1.3-3.5 cm long; flowers cream; pedicel 0-2 mm long. Pod falcate or coiled, 6-25 cm × 2-5 cm, bright orange, thick, indehiscent, usually glabrous. Seed ellipsoid to lens-shaped, 9-11 mm × 6-8 mm; areole central, large, 7-9 mm × 4-6 mm. F. albida occurs most commonly on medium to light, neutral to acid soils up to 2500 m altitude and tolerates seasonal waterlogging and slight salinity. For good growth it requires about 650 mm annual rainfall, if groundwater is accessible it still grows well with only 250 mm. It would be worthwhile trying this tree in the driest parts of South-East Asia.

Selected sources

30, 52, 61, 101, 116, 176.

Authors

M.S.M. Sosef & L.J.G. van der Maesen