Acacia tortilis

Acacia tortilis

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Botanical Name: Acacia tortilis

Synonyms: A. tortilis Hayne syn. A. spirocarpa Hochst. ex A. Rich.

Common Name: Umbrella Thorn, karamoja and Israeli Babool

Seed collection period: Nov- feb.

Seeds longevity: 1-2 years

Botanic Description:

Gregarious, wide-spreading, flat-topped or umbrella-shaped tree, up to 4 m high; branchlets pubescent, red-brown; spines mixed, some white, straight, slender, and up to 7.5 cm long, others grey with black or brown tips, sharply curved, very small. Pinnae in three to ten pairs, leaflets in 7 to 15 pairs. Flower heads white to cream. Pod yellow-brown, pubescent, spirally twisted, slightly constricted between the seeds, circular in cross-section, 7.15 to 15 cm long, 0.6 to 0.8 cm thick (Andrews, 1952). As for A. nilotica the main differentiating traits are: the size and shape of the pods, the presence or not of glands on them, their pubescence or glabrescence and the hairiness or glabrescence of twigs.
Products & uses

Leaves of young trees are browsed by goats and sheep, but the main value of this species is in its pods, which can be very numerous and are picked up from the ground and eaten by all African livestock. At the time when pods are mature (usually in January-February in Kenya), they are often the main source of food for cattle, sheep and goats. Timber, poles, posts, fuel, charcoal. Medicinal uses : Vermifuge, skin infections, oedema and allergic dermatoses, pods, bark and roots for tanning.