Acacia nilotica

Botanical Name: Acacia (Vachellia) nilotica

Sub Species Name: kraussiana

Common Name: Scented Thorn, Ngalati, Mukube, Lukwe

Plant Family: Fabaceae (Legume Family) Mimosoideae

Growth Form, Habitat and Distribution: A small to medium sized semi-deciduous tree usually branching at a low level with an untidy crown. Occurs across most of Zambia in a wide variety of drier habitats. It often forms thickets and is often a pioneer tree in disturbed ground. The bark has dark brown to black deep regular fissures.  Thorns are paired, long and slender (4 to 9cm) and typically point backwards. The flowers are fragrant, bright yellow, in loose axillary or terminal balls with the new growth (up to 2cm), September to April. Pods are slightly curved, fattish, black, (8 to 17cm), noticeably constricted between the seeds.

Size: Height up to 10m, usually smaller, spread 5 to 7m.

Uses: The wood has a sandalwood scent and turns well. Branches are used for bows and bow strings. The fruit are edible and can produce a jam or a drink. The seeds yield a non-drying oil used in cosmetics but contains toxic hydro-cyanic acid. The leaves and roots have medicinal properties.