Faidherbia albida (syn. Acacia albida Delile) is a species of Faidherbia native to Africa and the Middle East, formerly widely included in the genus Acacia. It has also been introduced to India and Pakistan. Common names for it include Apple-ring Acacia, Ana Tree and Winter Thorn.
It is a thorny tree growing up to 6–30 m tall and 2 m in trunk diameter. Its deep-penetrating tap root makes it highly resistant to drought. The bark is grey, and fissured when old. There are 11000 seeds/kg. Faidherbia albida is not listed as being a threatened species.
It grows in areas with 250-600mm/yr. of rain.
Faiderbia albida is known in the Bambara language as "balanzan", and is the official tree of the city of Segou, on the Niger River in central Mali. According to legend, Segou is home to 4,444 "balanzan" trees, plus one mysterious "missing tree" the location of which cannot be identified.
Cultivation and uses
Faidherbia albida is important for raising bees, since its flowers provide bee forage at the close of the rainy season, when most plants in the Sahel do not.
It is also used for nitrogen fixation, erosion control for crops, for food, drink and medicine. Unlike most other trees, it sheds its leaves in the rainy season; for this reason, it is highly valued in agroforestry as it can grow among field crops without shading them. It contains the psychoactive chemical compound dimethyltryptamine in its leaves.
The tree has medicinal value for the treatment of infections such as those of the respiratory kind, also for malaria and fevers. It is useful in treating problems of the digestive system. The bark is employed in dental hygiene and its extract is employed in the treatment of toothache. The extract is also used to treat ocular infections in farm animals.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 ILDIS LegumeWeb
- ↑ African Plants Database: Faidherbia albida
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 FAO: Handbook on Seeds of Dry-Zone Acacias
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 World AgroForestry
- ↑ FAO: Role of acacia species in the rural economy of dry Africa and the Near East
- ↑ Shaman Australis
- Africa: Forestry, Agroforestry and Environment
- Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)
- Purdue University New Crop Resource Online Program
- BBC News story on Mali's Faidherbia albida trees
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