Acacia nilotica

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Photographs by: Dr. Maulik Gadani

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  • Botanical Name : Acacia nilotica (L.) Delile
  • Synonyms : Acacia Arabica Willd.
  • Common Name : Baval, Babool, Kalo Baval, Ram Baval, Gum-Arabic
  • Plant Family : Mimosaceae
  • Plant Form : Tree
  • Occurrence (Sectors) : 1-30
  • Occurrence (Special Areas) : Indroda Park, Ayurvedic Udyan, Van Chetana Kendra, Sarita Udyan, Infocity, Basan, Aranya Van

About Acacia nilotica Plant :

  • Habit : A medium-sized almost evergreen tree, straight or crooked, armed tree with dark-blackish-brown, irregularly, longitudinally fissured bark.
  • Stem : Woody but upper portion herbaceous,aerial, erect, branched, solid, dark brown bark; a gum is secreted from the bark, gum Arabica.
  • Leaves : Ramal and cauline, alternate, stipulate, stipules modified into ½ to 2" long straight, white thorns, petiolate, compound, bipinnate and paripinnate, pinnae 5-7 pairs, pinnules 10-20 pairs, sessile or subsessile, minute, ovate or oblong, entire, unicostate reticulate.
  • Inflorescence : Axillary cymose head.
  • Flowers :
    • Flowers tiny, clustered together in bright-yellow, round heads.
    • Bracteate, ebracteolate, sessile or subsessile, complete, actinomorphic, hermaphrodite, hypogynous, pentamerous, yellow, very small.
    • Calyx made up of 4 to 5 sepals, gamosepalous, campanulate, odd sepal anterior, valvate, minute in size.
    • Corolla made up of 4 or 5 petals, gamopetalous, tubular, about double the size of the calyx, valvate, yellow.
    • Androecium consists of many stamens, polyandrous, filaments filiform, longer than corolla, dithecous, basifixed, introrse, yellow.
    • Gynoecium is monocarpellary, superior, unilocular, ovules many, marginal placentation, shortly stalked ovary, style long, stigma flat and minute.
  • Fruits : A lomentum, pods linear-oblong, glaucous-green, jointed, joints nearly orbicular, compressed, minutely hairy.
  • Seeds : Many, large, non-endospermic, brownish-black, oblong, compressed, smooth, glabrous.
  • Flowering and Fruiting time : July - December
  • Significance :
    • The bark is a powerful astringent and used as a tan.
    • The timber is hard and durable and extensively used for wheels, well-curbs and very largely as fuel.
    • The wood is durable and resistant to termites.
    • It is used as railway sleepers and as a high quality fuel.
    • The gum obtained from stem is used in dysentery and is said to be used in diabetes mellitus.
    • It is used by the calico-printer, and also forms a valuable tanning material.
    • Tender leaves are used as blood purifier and used for cattle fodder.
    • Medicinally tender leaves are given in diarrhea, or mixed with pomegranate juice in gonorrhea.
    • The spines serve as fishing hooks and paper pins.
    • Young twigs are used as "Datoon" for cleaning teeth.
    • The fruit is a powerful astringent.
    • The green pods, young shoots and leaves form an excellent fodder, and are especially valuable during the seasons of drought.