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Acacia tortilis: Wikis


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Acacia tortilis in the Serengeti National Park
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. tortilis
Binomial name
Acacia tortilis

Umbrella Thorn Acacia (Acacia tortilis) also known as Umbrella Thorn and Israeli Babool,[1] is a medium to large canopied tree native primarily to the savanna and Sahel of Africa (especially Sudan), but also occurring in the Middle East.



In extremely arid conditions, it may occur as a small, wiry bush. It grows up to 21m in height.[2] The tree carries leaves that grow to approx. 2.5 cm in length with between 4 and 10 pair of pinnae each with up to 15 pairs of leaflets. Flowers are small and white, highly aromatic, and occur in tight clusters. Seeds are produced in pods which are flat and coiled into a springlike structure.

The plant is known to tolerate high alkalinity, drought, high temperatures, sandy & stony soils, strongly sloped rooting surfaces, and sand blasting. Also, plants older than 2 years have been observed to be somewhat frost resistant.


Timber from the tree is used for furniture, wagon wheels, fence posts, cages, and pens. Acacia wood was also used exclusively by the Israelites in the Old Testament in the building of the tabernacle and the tabernacle furniture, including the Ark of the Covenant. The pods and foliage, which grow prolifically on the tree, are used as fodder for desert grazing animals. The bark is often used as a string medium in Tanganyika, and is a source for tannin. Gum from the tree is edible and can be used as Gum Arabic. Parts of the tree including roots, shoots, and pods are also often used by natives for a vast number of purposes including decorations, weapons, tools, and medicines.[3]

Distribution and growing conditions


Acacia tortilis tends to grow in areas where temperatures vary from 0-50 deg. C. and rainfall is anywhere from about 100-1000mm/yr.[4]

Common names

Spread over such a large area inhabited by diverse cultures, the A. tortilis is known by a wide number of common names. These include (but are not limited to):[5]

  • (Afrikaans) : haak-en-steek
  • (Arabic) : samar, sammar, samor, samra, sayyal, seyal, seyyal
  • (English) : karamoja, umbrella thorn
  • (Hebrew) : shitat ha'sochech
  • (Hindi) : Israeli babool
  • (Ndebele) : isanqawe, umsasane, umshishene, umtshatshatsha
  • (Nyanja) : mzunga, nsangu, nsangunsangu, nyoswa
  • (Somali) : abak, kura
  • (Swahili) : mgunga, mugumba, munga
  • (Tigrigna) : akba, akiba, alla, aqba
  • (Tongan) : mukoka, muzungu, ngoka
  • (Tswana) : mosu, mosunyana
  • (Zulu) : umSasane


  • Acacia tortilis subsp. heteracantha (Burchell)Brenan
  • Acacia tortilis subsp. raddiana (Savi)Brenan
  • Acacia tortilis subsp. spirocarpa (A.Rich.)Brenan
  • Acacia tortilis subsp. tortilis[6]


  1. ^ Acacia tortilis (Forsk.) Hayne, Perdue University, December 1997.
  2. ^ World Agroforestry Centre
  3. ^ Purdue University
  4. ^ Handbook on Seeds of Dry-Zone Acacias FAO
  5. ^ World AgroForestryTree Database: ICRAF / PROSEA network.
  6. ^ ILDIS Legumes of the World

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales
Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Mimosoideae
Tribus: Acacieae
Genus: Acacia
Species: Acacia tortilis Varieties: A. tortilis var. raddiana


Acacia tortilis (Forssk.) Hayne


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