Vachellia sieberiana

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Acacia sieberiana
Kirstenbosch - Acacia sieberiana.jpg
In Kirstenbosch, Cape Town
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. sieberiana
Binomial name
Acacia sieberiana
  • Acacia sieberiana var. sieberiana (DC.) Kyal. & Boatwr.
  • Acacia sieberiana var. villosa (A.Chev.) Kyal. & Boatwr.
  • Acacia sieberiana var. woodii (Burtt Davy) Kyal. & Boatwr.
  • Acacia abyssinica sensu auct.
  • Acacia amboensis Schinz
  • Acacia davyi sensu auct.
  • Acacia purpurascens Vatke
  • Acacia sieberana DC.
  • Acacia sieberiana DC.
  • Acacia sieberiana subsp. vermoesenii (De Wild.)Troupin
  • Acacia vermoesenii De Wild.

Acacia sieberiana is a perennial tree native to Africa and introduced into Pakistan.[2] It is known in South Africa as the Paperbark Thorn. It is used in many areas for various products. This tree grows 3–25 m in height, with a trunk diameter of 0.6–1.8 m.[3] It is not listed as being a threatened species.[2]


Its uses include forage, medicine and wood. It is used for fiber (twine is made from the inside bark for stringing beads[3]); for food (the gum is edible); and for livestock and game.

Close-up of the leaves

The flowers of the tree make good forage for bees and bee hives are put directly in the trees for this.[3] The tree leaves sometimes contain chemical compounds that when ingested may release hydrogen cyanide and they can be lethal to cattle. They can be lifesaving during dry times of the year.[3]

The gum of the tree is used as food, an adhesive, and to make ink.

Traditional medicinal uses[edit]

In Africa, the bark or root is used to treat urinary tract inflammation. The bark has astringent properties and it is used to treat colds, cough, and childhood fever.[3] According to the World AgroForestry Centre,

"A decoction of the root is taken as remedy for stomach-ache. The bark, leaves and gums are used to treat tapeworm, bilharzia, haemorrhage, orchitis, colds, diarrhoea, gonorrhoea, kidney problems, syphilis, ophthalmia, rheumatism and disorders of the circulatory system. It is also used as an astringent. The pods serve as an emollient, and the roots for stomach-ache, acne, tapeworms, urethral problems, oedema and dropsy."[3]

Nitrogen fixation[edit]

The tree is a legume, so it takes nitrogen gas out of the air and converts it into nitrogen fertilizer (this phenomenon is known as nitrogen fixation), from which surrounding crops benefit.[3]


Tannin is found in the bark and seed pods.[3]


A close-up of the bark that gives the tree its name

The wood is fairly hard and it is used for furniture, handles for implements and tools for grinding grain manually.[3] The wood of V. sieberiana has a density of about 655 kg/m³.[4]

Ecology and Conservation[edit]

This tree is widespread in its natural habitat and is not threatened. It is browsed upon by livestock and game such as elephant and giraffe.


  1. ^ ILDIS List
  2. ^ a b c ILDIS LegumeWeb
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i World Agroforestry Centre
  4. ^ FAO

External links[edit]