Sweet Acacia (Acacia famesiana Willd.)

Botanical Name :Acacia famesiana Willd.
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Vachellia
Species: V. farnesiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Syn. : Vachellia farnesiana Linn
Common Names: Farnese Wattle, Dead Finish, Mimosa Wattle, Mimosa bush, Prickly Mimosa Bush, Prickly Moses, Needle Bush(It is so named because of the numerous thorns distributed along its branches), North-west Curara, Sheep’s Briar, Sponge Wattle, Sweet Acacia, Thorny Acacia, Thorny Feather Wattle, Wild Briar, Huisache, Cassie, Cascalotte, Cassic, Mealy Wattle, Popinac, Sweet Briar, Texas Huisache, Aroma, (Bahamas) Cashia, (Bahamas, USA) Opoponax, Cashaw, (Belize) Cuntich, (Jamaica) Cassie-flower, Cassie, Iron Wood, Cassie Flower, Honey-ball, Casha Tree, Casha, (Virgin Islands) Cassia, (Fiji) Ellington’s Curse, Cushuh, (St. Maarten).

Habitat:The native range of Needle Bush is uncertain. While the point of origin is Mexico and Central America the species has a pantropical distribution incorporating Northern Australia and Southern Asia. It remains unclear whether the extra-American distribution is primarily natural or anthropogenic.The plant has been recently spread to many new locations as a result of human activity and it is considered a serious weed in Fiji, where locals call it Ellington’s Curse. It thrives in dry, saline or sodic soils. It is also a serious pest plant in parts of Australia, including north-west New South Wales, where it now infests thousands of acres of grazing country.

It is deciduous over part of its range, but evergreen in most locales.The species grows to a height of up to 8 metres (26 ft) and has a life span of about 25–50 years.It is a medium-sized shrub with many spreading branches and basal stems. The
leaves are alternate, bipinnately compound with two  to six pairs of pinnae, each with 10 to 25 pairs of  narrow leaflets 3 to 5 mm in length. The slightly zigzag twigs are dark brown with light-colored dots  (lenticels) and paired spines 3 to 20 mm in length at  the nodes. The older bark is also dark brown and  smooth. Its bright yellow or orange flowers,  produced over a period of 2 to 4 months, depending  on locality, are very fragrant and used in the  perfume industry in France and elsewhere.
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Sweet acacia produces small (to 5 mm in length) flowers that have functional male and female parts, borne in compact rounded heads 0.6 to 1.3 cm across. The flowers are very fragrant and are pollinated by bees and other insects. The thick, slightly flattened pods, 4 to 9 cm in length and 0.5 to 1.3 cm broad, are produced in abundance after about 3 years. They mature 4 to 6 months after flowering  and contain a number of hard-coated, brown seeds embedded in a pulpy mesocarp.

Cultivation :
Prefers a light sandy loam and a very sunny position sheltered from strong winds. Plants can grow well in pure sand. Most species in this genus become chlorotic on limey soils. Established plants are very drought tolerant. The species and its cultivars are reported to exhibit tolerance to drought, high pH, heat, low pH, salt, sand, slope, and Savannah. Plants tolerate a pH range from 5.0 to 8.0. Whilst this species is not very tolerant of cold, being damaged by even a few degrees of frost, the variety A. farnesiana cavenia seems to be more resistant to both drought and frost. Both A. farnesiana and its var. cavenia are extensively cultivated for the essential oil in their flowers in and around Cannes, southern France, which is the centre for production of the perfume. A good bee plant. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a warm greenhouse. Stored seed should be scarified, pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then sown in a warm greenhouse in March. The seed germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 25°c. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in individual pots in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse for the first winter and plant out in their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Fair percentage[

Medicinal Uses:-
Astringent;  Demulcent;  Poultice;  Stomachic.

The bark is astringent and demulcent. Along with the leaves and roots it is used for medicinal purposes. Colombians bathe in the bark decoction as a treatment for typhoid. The gummy roots have been chewed as a treatment for sore throat. A decoction of the gum from the trunk has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of dyspepsia and neuroses. The flowers are added to ointment, which is rubbed on the forehead to treat headaches. The powdered dried leaves have been applied externally as a treatment for wounds. The green pods have been decocted and used in the treatment of dysentery and inflammations of the skin and raucous membranes. An infusion of the pod has been used in the treatment of sore throats, diarrhoea, leucorrhoea, conjunctivitis, and uterorrhagia. The juice of the bark is used in Nepal to treat swellings

Traditional medicine:
The bark and the flowers are the parts of the tree most used in traditional medicine. V. farnesiana has been used in Colombia to treat malaria, and it has been confirmed in the laboratory that extract from the tree bark and leaves is effective against the malarial pathogen Plasmodium falciparum. Indigenous Australians have used the roots and bark of the tree to treat diarrhea and diseases of the skin. The tree’s leaves can also be rubbed on the skin to treat skin diseases.

One or more alkaloids present in Vachellia farnesiana: “phenethylamine; N-methly-.beta.-phenethylamine; tyramine; hordenine; N,N-dimethyl-phenethylamine; and N,N-dimethyl-.alpha.-methylphenethylamine” in the “leaves, bark, and roots.”

The following compounds are said to be in Vachellia farnesiana:

*?-methyl-phenethylamine, flower.

Ether extracts about 2-6% of the dried leaf mass. Alkaloids are present in the bark.

Other Uses:

Some of the reported uses of the plant:

Bark:...click to see

The bark is used for its tannin content. Highly tannic barks are common in general to acacias, extracts of many being are used in medicine for this reason. (You may click & See cutch:).

Food....click to see
“Roasted pods used in sweet and sour dishes.”

Flowers..click to see
The flowers are processed through distillation to produce a perfume called Cassie. It is widely used in the perfume industry in Europe. Flowers of the plant provide the perfume essence from which the biologically important sesquiterpenoid farnesol is named.

Scented ointments from Cassie are made in India.

The foliage is a significant source of forage in much of its range, with a protein content of around 18%.

Seed pods
The concentration of tannin in the seed pods is about 23%.

The seeds of V. farnesiana are completely non-toxic to humans and are a valuable food source for people throughout the plant’s range. The ripe seeds are put through a press to make oil for cooking. Nonetheless an anecdotal report has been made that in Brazil some people use the seeds of V. farnesiana to eliminate rabid dogs. This is attributed to an unnamed toxic alkaloid.

The tree makes good forage for bees.

Dyes and Inks
A black pigment is extracted from the bark and fruit.

Acaci farnesiana flowers are distilled in the south of France to make an essential oil called Cassie which is used as a basis for aromatherapy and perfume.[14]

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Known Hazards:  The seeds, containing an unnamed alkaloid, are used to kill rabid dogs in Brazil

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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