Classification of the genus Acacia (in the wider sense) has been subject to considerable debate. It is generally agreed that there are valid reasons for breaking it up into several distinct genera, but there has been disagreement over the way this should be done. As of 2017, it is widely (but not completely) accepted that the section that includes the majority of the Australian species should retain the name Acacia, whilst other sections of the genus should be transferred to other genera. This species is transferred to Senegalia[
Acacia modesta Wall.
Mimosa dumosa Roxb.
Mimosa obovata Roxb.
Common Name: Phulai
Senegalia modesta is a thorny, deciduous tree that can grow up to 10 metres tall. The bole can be around 100cm in diameter in old trees[
This species is currently (2017) the main source of gum arabic used n the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and textile industries. It is cultivated for this gum in India, and is also grown for wind protection in Pakistan.
Asia - Afghanistan, Pakistan, India
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Senegalia modesta is native to the warm temperate and subtropical regions of Afghanistan to India, where it can experience temperatures falling to around -5°c, and rising to around 40°c. It grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 250 - 1,300mm.
Requires a sunny position. Succeeds in dry and shallow soils. Established plants are very drought tolerant.
A slow-growing tree[
Trees respond well to coppicing[
A gum obtained from the tree is restorative, stimulant, tonic[
]. It is used in the treatment of muscular conditions, back pain, and stomach problems[
]. A mixture of the gum with ghee, poppy seeds and almonds is fed to women after child birth[
Various parts of the plant, including the gum, leaves, flowers, sticks, and wood, are used for several medicinal purposes. The plant is used in the treatment of dysentery, leprosy, oral toothache, trachoma, venereal diseases, and wounds,
An aqueous preparation of the fresh leaves is used for treating sore eyes and cataract[
The tree has good potential for use as a pioneer for reforestation projects in arid and semi-arid locations.
It is grown to provide shelter from the wind[
A gum is obtained from the tree[
]. Produced in small tears or angular fragments, the tasteless, yellowish gum produces a good, pale-coloured mucilage[
]. Known as Gum Arabic (E number E 414), it is an edible polysaccharide used in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and textile industries, as an emulsifying, suspending and stabilizing agent. It is also commonly used in traditional medicine[
The tender twigs are used for cleaning the teeth[
The heartwood is dark brown with black streaks; the large band of sapwood is white. The texture is medium, the grain straight and fairly even. The wood is strong, extremely hard and durable, even in contact with water. A most beautiful wood[
]. It is used for sugar cane crushers. Persian wheels and agricultural implements[
]. The wood is not very ornamental, nor is it easy to work[
The wood is a popular fuel[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a warm greenhouse[
].The dried seed of most, if not all, members of this genus has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. Sow the seed in Spring in a greenhouse. 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.
Acacia seeds that have matured fully on the bush and have been properly dried have a hard seed coat and can be stored in closed containers without deterioration for 5 - 10 years or more in dry conditions at ambient temperatures. It is best to remove the aril, which attracts weevils and can lead to moulds forming. The arils are easilyremoved by placing the seeds in water and rubbing them between the hands, then drying the seeds and winnowing them[