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Native to arid areas in South and Southeast Asia, Acacia leucophloea syn. Mimosa leucophloea is easily identified by its white bark and large wide spreading limbs. It is most often utilized as shade for livestock and as a source of dry-season fodder.
Growing well on alluvial or infertile soils, A. Currently, it is not commonly planted for this purpose. Common names for this species often refer to its light color; white-bark acacia English , safed kikkar Hindi , safed babul Bengali , goira Oriya , sarai, velvelam Tamil. Other common names include pilang and besok Indonesian. Botany Acacia leucophloea Roxb.
Leguminosae Mimosoideae is a large thorny tree attaining heights of 35 m and diameters at breast height dbh of cm Nielsen , Heyne It may be deciduous. Mature trees become less thorny and can live to be years old. Trunks are stout, dividing into several large diameter branches. Open-grown specimens have a characteristic wide umbrella-like crown. In India, the trunk is often crooked Troup , but reported as straight in Indonesia Heyne Generally, the bark is white to yellowish gray, smooth and exfoliates in long strips.
On old trees, the bark becomes black and rough Troup , Heyne In harsh environments and on poor soils this species remains a shrub or small malformed tree. The feathery green foliage offers a strong contrast to the light-colored bark. Leaves are bipinnately compound having pairs of leaflets. Circular glands are found on the rachis below the junction of paired-pinnae Nielsen , Troup Spines, mm long, occur at the base of leaves.
The leaves may fall during the cold or dry seasons and regrow with the rains. The conspicuous flowers are light-yellow to cream in color and are borne in abundance during the rainy season. The pods are yellow, green or brown in color, flat and fairly straight. Pods should be collected before they split and disperse their seed. Ecology Acacia leucophloea is a component of dry-forests, savannas, bush woodlands, and desert ecosystems from sea level to elevations of m. Acacia leucophloea is common on sands, infertile rocky soils, limestone soils, organic clays and alluvial areas.
Plant growth is usually slow. On fertile soils, A. Under irrigation, height growth may reach meters in years. Seedlings are light demanding and sensitive to weed competition, fire and frost. In order to exploit sufficient soil moisture, seedling root growth generally exceeds shoot growth.
Once established, trees are very tolerant of drought, fire and frost. Reports concerning A. This question needs future investigation. Pruned or injured trees produce thorny branch and stump sprouts. This species has not been widely introduced to other regions. Uses Wood. The wood of this species is strong, heavy and hard with a specific gravity of 0. It seasons well and takes a good polish Troup The brick-red heartwood is very beautiful and is used to make decorative furniture.
The pale yellow sapwood is perishable. Commodities produced from the wood include poles, farming implements, carts, wheels, turnery, construction timbers and fuel. The utilization of this species is limited because its wood has irregular interlocked grain, a rough texture, is difficult to work and is not durable. Fodder and Pasture. Acacia leucophloea is an important dry-season fodder and pasture tree throughout its range.
Leaves, tender shoots and pods are eagerly eaten by goats, sheep and cattle. However, due to hydrocyanic acid toxicity A. During dry seasons, this tree protects livestock and understory pasture from excessive temperatures. Grass beneath the trees remains succulent while exposed grass becomes dry and unpalatable.
In eastern Indonesia, populations of this species have declined significantly due to heavy use as a dry-season fodder. Farmers do not replant A. Other uses. The inner bark of A. It produces a reddish-brown stain used to manufacture dyes and tannins Heyne Fibers from the inner bark are used to make fish nets and rough rope.
Additionally, a water soluble gum of fair quality can be extracted from the bark. The leaves yield a black dye and the bark produces tannin and dye Heyne , Troup Heyne reports the bark is used to distill liquor in India and seed sprouts are eaten as vegetables in Java. The vivid colors of its leaves, flowers and bark make A. Silviculture Propagation. Seeds of A. Under natural conditions they germinate unevenly. To encourage uniform germination, seed should be scarified. Two methods are recommended: 1 submerge seeds in boiled water until the water cools — roughly 24 hours, or 2 soak seeds in sulfuric acid for minutes followed by a cool water soak for 24 hours Kumar and Bhanja The visibly swollen seeds should be removed from the water and sown immediately.
Acacia leucophloea can be established by direct sowing, stump sprouts or seedlings. Direct sowing is preferred because the large roots of seedlings may hamper transplanting. Troup recommends the following method. Immediately prior to the rainy season, the sowing site should be cleared of weeds and the soil well cultivated. When the rains arrive sow scarified seed at a depth of 1 cm. Germination begins within a week.
Seedlings are sensitive to vegetative competition and browse damage. Weed control must be maintained for a minimum of two years.
Livestock must be excluded from plantations until trees are beyond their reach. Annual cultivation around the seedlings improves growth and survival. Interplanting A. Although this species is slow growing it should not be disregarded.
Acacia leucophloea is a good reforestation species for poor soils in low rainfall areas. Otherwise underutilized, these sites could become useful fodder and fuel plantations. Symbiosis Acacia leucophloea fixes atmospheric nitrogen through a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobium bacteria which enables it to survive on infertile sites. Quantitative information concerning the amount of nitrogen fixed in this relationship is lacking. Limitations The wide crown of A. The wood degrades quickly and is difficult to work.
Bhadoria, B. A note on hydrocynic acid content in Acacia leucophloea Roxb. Current Science Djogo, A. The possibilities of using local drought- resistant multipupose tree species as alternatives to lamtoro Leucaena leucocephala for agroforestry and social forestry in West Timor. Working Paper No. Heyne, K.
De nuttige planten van Indonesie The useful plants of Indonesia. Uitgeverij W. Kumar, S. Forestry seed manual of Andhra Pradesh. Singh, R. Fodder trees of India. New Delhi, India. Troup, R.
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Native to arid areas in South and Southeast Asia, Acacia leucophloea syn. Mimosa leucophloea is easily identified by its white bark and large wide spreading limbs. It is most often utilized as shade for livestock and as a source of dry-season fodder. Growing well on alluvial or infertile soils, A. Currently, it is not commonly planted for this purpose.
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A sessile, flat, elongate pod, rusty tomentose; seeds 10, ovoid, angular. Fruiting from October-February. Bark used as one of the ingredients to distill liquor. Young seeds and pods are also used as a vegetable. The bark is used in distilling and is a source of good rough fibre. Branclets are used for fuel.
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It is sometimes mistaken for Prosopis cineraria with spreading crown and somewhat malformed and crooked trunk. New leaves appear in April, and yellowish white flowers appear from August to October. The pods ripe by April and the seeds germinate readily if moisture is available. The tree is very hardy and stands drought well.