Acacia nilotica 1 (L.) Del.
Cheba (Amargna), Galol, Marah, Tuwer (Somali), Aflo (Sahogna), Burguge (Borenagna), Egyptian thorn (Engl.)
A usually small acacia, 2-6m high but can reach 14m, branching from the base to make a rounded crown. The bark is brown-black, rough and fissured on the trunk. Young shoots often red-brown and hairy. Thorns are thing grey-white to 10cm, often shorter and may point backwards. Leaves are compound in 2-11 pairs pinnae on leave stalk 3-6cm, new growth in the dry season. Flowers have fragrant, bright yellow round heads. Pods vary in different subspecies, straight or curved to 17cm, fleshy and thick, hairy or not, narrowed between seeds or not. Seeds seen as distinct raised bumps in the pod, set free when pods rot on the ground.
Edible part(s), preparation methods and palatability
The bark and the gummy fruit pulp are edible. In addition the pods are considered a famine food in certain areas.
The species is widely spread in tropical and subtropical Africa and east to India, from Ethiopia and Sudan to north-eastern South Africa and northern Namibia. Common in arid and semi-arid areas and occurs in woodlands and scrub in western Eritrea, North and South Omo (SNNPR), in Arsi and parts of Hararghe in Dry and Moist lowlands, 600-1,700m. Subspecies indica, though native to India is cultivated in the Afar plains, Eritrea and in Hararghe.
Seedlings and direct sowing.
Sample location (s)
Five subspecies are recognized in Ethiopia. The wood is tough and termite resistant. The species is of medicinal use (bark & roots) for stomach problems, indigestion and a number of other health problems. The species is also used as a source for firewood, poles, charcoal, tool handles, carving, fodder foe all animals, bee forage and many additional uses.