Senegalia senegal

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Gum arabic tree
Acacia senegal - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-004.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Senegalia
Species: S. senegal
Binomial name
Senegalia senegal
(L.) Britton & P. Wilson
  • Acacia circummarginata Chiov.
  • Acacia cufodontii Chiov.
  • Acacia glaucophylla sensu Brenan
  • Acacia kinionge sensu Brenan
  • Acacia oxyosprion Chiov.
  • Acacia rupestris Boiss.
  • Acacia senegal (L.) Willd.
  • Acacia senegal subsp. modesta (Wall.) Roberty
  • Acacia senegal subsp. senegalensis Roberty
  • Acacia somalensis sensu Brenan
  • Acacia sp. 1 F. White
  • Acacia spinosa Marloth & Engl.
  • Acacia thomasii sensu Brenan
  • Acacia volkii Suess.
  • Mimosa senegal L.

Senegalia senegal (synonym: Acacia senegal) is a small thorny deciduous tree from the genus Senegalia, which is known by several common names, including Gum acacia, Gum arabic tree, Senegal gum and Sudan gum arabic. It is native to semi-desert regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Oman, Pakistan, west coastal India. It grows to a height of 5-12m, with a trunk up to 30 cm in diameter.[2] S. senegal is the source of the world's highest quality gum arabic, known locally as hashab gum in contrast to the related, but inferior, gum arabic from Red acacia or talah gum.[3]


Gum arabic[edit]

A Gum acacia tree photographed at Taljai Hills, Pune

The tree is of great economic importance for the gum arabic it produces to be is used as a food additive, in crafts, and as a cosmetic. The gum is drained from cuts in the bark, and an individual tree will yield 200 to 300 grams. Eighty percent of the world's gum arabic is produced in Sudan.[4] The Chauhatan area of Barmer district in Rajasthan is also famous for gum production,this is called कुम्मत (Kummat) in local language there.


New foliage is very useful as forage.[5]


Dried seeds are used as food by humans.[5]


Like other legume species, S. senegal fixes nitrogen within Rhizobia or nitrogen-fixing bacteria living in root nodules.[3] This nitrogen fixation enriches the poor soils where it is grown, allowing for the rotation of other crops in naturally nutrient-poor regions.

Senegalia senegal

Traditional uses[edit]

It is reportedly used as for its astringent properties, to treat bleeding, bronchitis, diarrhea, gonorrhea, leprosy, typhoid fever and upper respiratory tract infections.[5][unreliable medical source?]


Roots near the surface of the ground are quite useful in making all kinds of very strong ropes and cords. The tree bark is also used to make rope.[5]


Handles for tools, parts for weaving looms.[5]


S. senegal contains hentriacontane, a solid, long-chain alkane hydrocarbon. The leave also contain the psychoactive alkaloid dimethyltryptamine.[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ ILDIS
  2. ^ World Agroforestry Centre
  3. ^ a b Suliman, Mohamed Osman (2011). The Darfur Conflict : Geography or Institutions. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-88598-0. 
  4. ^ "Gum arabic in Sudan: production and socio-economic aspects, United Nations Food & Agricultural Organisation"
  5. ^ a b c d e Purdue University
  6. ^ Khalil, S.K.W. & Elkheir, Y.M. 1975. “Dimethyltryptamine from the leaves of certain Acacia species of Northern Sudan.” Lloydia 38(3):176-177.

General references[edit]

Van Wyk, Ben-Erik (2005). Food Plants of the World. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc. ISBN 0-88192-743-0

External links[edit]