Senegalia catechu

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Senegalia catechu
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Clade: Mimosoid clade
Genus: Senegalia
S. catechu
Binomial name
Senegalia catechu
(L.f.) P.J.H.Hurter & Mabb.
  • Senegalia catechu var. catechu (L.f.) P.J.H.Hurter & Mabb.
  • Senegalia catechu var. sundra (L.f.) Willd.[2]
Range of Senegalia catechu

Senegalia catechu is a deciduous, thorny tree which grows up to 15 m (50 ft) in height.[4] The plant is called khair [5] in Hindi, and kachu in Malay; the Malay name was Latinized to "catechu" in Linnaean taxonomy, as the type-species from which the extracts cutch and catechu are derived.[6] Other common names for it include kher,[7] catechu, cachou, cutchtree, black cutch, and black catechu.

Senegalia catechu is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia, including the Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand and China (Yunnan).[1]

Pollen from Senegalia catechu

Through derivatives of the flavanols in its extracts, the species has lent its name to the important catechins, catechols and catecholamines of chemistry and biology.



Senegalia catechu flowers

The tree's seeds are a good source of protein.[8] Kattha (catechu), an extract of its heartwood, gives a characteristic flavor and red color to paan, a traditional Indian and Southeast Asian method for chewing betel leaf (Piper betle) with areca nut and slaked lime paste.


Branches of the tree are quite often cut for goat fodder and are sometimes fed to cattle.[3][8][9]

Folk medicine[edit]

The heartwood, bark, and wood extract (called catechu) are used in traditional medicine.[4][10] The concentrated aqueous extract, known as khayer gum or cutch, is astringent.[11]


Senegalia catechu trunks

The tree is often planted for use as firewood and charcoal and its wood is highly valued for furniture and tools.[4] The wood has a density of about 0.88 g/cm3.[12]

Other uses[edit]

Its heartwood extract is used in dyeing and leather tanning, as a preservative for fishing nets, and as a viscosity regulator for oil drilling.[4] Its flowers are a good source of nectar and pollen for bees.


Senegalia catechu pods

The tree can be propagated by planting its seeds, which are soaked in hot water first. After about six months in a nursery, the seedlings can be planted in the field.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Plummer, J. (2021). "Senegalia catechu". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T169300001A169300339. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS)
  4. ^ a b c d e "". Archived from the original on 2019-02-10. Retrieved 2007-04-19.
  5. ^ Archived 2011-02-03 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Derivation of word from Malay
  7. ^ Ujwala, T. K.; Tomy, Shawn; Celine, Sandra; Chander, J. Sam Johnson Udaya (2015). "A Systematic Review of Some Potential Anti-Diabetic Herbs Used in India Characterized by Its Hypoglycemic Activity". International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. 6 (12): 4940–4957. ProQuest 1747402306.
  8. ^ a b "World AgroForestry Database". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
  9. ^ Heuzé V., Tran G., Hassoun P., Lebas F., 2018. Black cutch (Senegalia catechu). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. Last updated on February 9, 2018, 13:20
  10. ^ "Plant Details". Retrieved 2014-10-04.
  11. ^ British Pharmacopoeia, Department of Health, British Pharmacopoeia Commission, London. The Stationery Office, (1999)
  12. ^ FAO Appendix 1

External links[edit]