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Acacia nilotica

Acacia nilotica

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Tribe: Acacieae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. nilotica
Binomial name
Acacia nilotica
(L.) Willd. ex Delile

Range of Acacia nilotica
  • Acacia arabica (Lam.) Willd.
  • Acacia scorpioides W.Wight
  • Mimosa arabica Lam.
  • Mimosa nilotica L.
  • Mimosa scorpioides L.[1]

Acacia nilotica (Thorn mimosa) is a species of Acacia (wattle) native to Africa and the Indian subcontinent. It is also currently an invasive species of significant concern in Australia. For the ongoing reclassification of this and other species historically classified under genus Acacia, see the list of Acacia species.



Acacia nilotica is a tree 5-20 m high with a dense spheric crown, stems and branches usually dark to black coloured, fissured bark, grey-pinkish slash, exuding a reddish low quality gum. The tree has thin, straight, light, grey spines in axillary pairs, usually in 3 to 12 pairs, 5 to 7.5 cm long in young trees, mature trees commonly without thorns. The leaves are bipinnate, with 3-6 pairs of pinnulae and 10-30 pairs of leaflets each, tomentose, rachis with a gland at the bottom of the last pair of pinnulae. Flowers in globulous heads 1.2-1.5 cm in diameter of a bright golden-yellow color, set up either axillary or whorly on peduncles 2-3 cm long located at the end of the branches. Pods are strongly constricted, hairy, white-grey, thick and softly tomentose. Its seeds number approximately 8000/kg.[2]  


Scented Thorn Acacia is native from Egypt south to Mozambique and Natal. Apparently, it has been introduced to Zanzibar, Pemba, India and Arabia. Acacia nilotica is restricted to riverine habitats and seasonally flooded areas.


Forage and fodder

In part of its range smallstock consume the pods and leaves, but elsewhere it is also very popular with cattle. Pods are used as a supplement to poultry rations in India. Dried pods are particularly sought out by animals on rangelands. In India branches are commonly lopped for fodder. Pods are best fed dry as a supplement, not as a green fodder.


A. nilotica makes a good protective hedge because of its thorns.[3]



According to Hartwell, African Zulu take bark for cough. It acts as an astringent and it is used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and leprosy.

Bark and root

Masai are intoxicated by the bark and root decoction, said to impart courage, even aphrodisia, and the root is said to cure impotence.

Bark or gum

In West Africa, the bark or gum is used to treat cancers and/or tumors (of ear, eye, or testicles) and indurations of liver and spleen, condylomas, and excess flesh.

Sap or bark, leaves, and young pods are strongly astringent due to tannin, and are chewed in Senegal as an antiscorbutic.


The bruised leaves are poulticed and used to treat ulcers.


In Lebanon, the resin is mixed with orange-flower infusion for typhoid convalescence.


The Chipi use the root for tuberculosis. In Tonga, the root is used to treat tuberculosis.

Seed pods

Egyptian Nubians believe that diabetics may eat unlimited carbohydrates as long as they also consume powdered pods.


In Italian Africa, the wood is used to treat smallpox.

In Ethiopia, certain parts of the tree are used as a lactogogue.


The tree's wood is "very durable if water-seasoned" and its uses include tool handles and lumber for boats.[3] The wood has a density of about 1170 kg/m³.[4]


There are 5000-16000 seeds/kg.[5]


  • Acacia nilotica subsp. adstringens (Schum. & Thonn.) Brenan[4]
  • Acacia nilotica subsp. cupressiformis
  • Acacia nilotica subsp. hemispherica
  • Acacia nilotica subsp. indica (Benth.) Brenan[4]
  • Acacia nilotica subsp. kraussiana (Benth.) Brenan[4]
  • Acacia nilotica subsp. leiocarpa Brenan[4]
  • Acacia nilotica subsp. nilotica
  • Acacia nilotica subsp. subalata (Vatke) Brenan[4]
  • Acacia nilotica subsp. tomentosa (Benth.) Brenan[4][6]


  1. ^ ILDIS LegumeWeb
  2. ^ Handbook on Seeds of Dry-zone Acacias FAO
  3. ^ a b Google Books Select Extra-tropical Plants Readily Eligible for Industrial Culture Or Naturalization By Ferdinand von Mueller
  4. ^ a b c d e f g FAO
  5. ^ Tropical Forages
  6. ^ USDA Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Acacia_nilotica". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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