Gum Arabic tree
Gum Arabic tree
|Distribution of Acacia senegal in Kenya|
|(c) Maundu P. and Bo Tengnas. (2005). Useful trees and shrubs for Kenya, World Agroforestry Centre|
General information about the tree:
Flourishes in the altitude range of 100 to 1700 m above sea level; Mean annual temperatures -4 to 48 deg. C and mean annual rainfall of 300 to 1200 mm annually. Soil type varies from coarse-textured, deep sandy soils to dry, rocky soils, slightly acidic to moderately alkaline. It is intolerant to waterlogging and prefers well-aerated soils, especially rocky, loam or sandy soils. It is distributed in agroecological zones III - VII.
Propagation and Tree Management
Seeds should be harvested before pods drying for easy collection and to avoid insect attacks. Seeds are then easily extracted by hand, then, they are should be immediately dusted with an insecticide.
- Food; seeds are dried and conserved for human consumption as a vegetable. It also produces edible gum.
- Fuel; produces excellent fuelwood and charcoal, sometimes it may be the only surviving species in the dry areas.
- Timber; a source for poles, posts and toolhandles.
- Medicine; the roots are used for medicine extraction for treating dysentery, gonorrhea and nodular leprosy.
- Fodder; the pods and leaves are used as fodder for camel and goats.
- Apiculture; it is a source of bee forage, soil conservation, sand stabilization, Commercial "gum arabic" and resin; it is commercially exploited for making food stabilizer, glue, pharmaceutical uses.
- Erosion control; A. senegal can be used for desertification control, re-establishment of a vegetative cover in degraded areas, sand dune fixation and wind erosion control due to their tolerance for water scarcity.
- Soil improver: Improves soil fertility by nutrient cycling after leaf fall.
- Ornamental: It is grown as an ornamental tree in some parts.
- Boundary or barrier or support: cut branches are useful for fencing in cattle rearing due to their spines.
- Intercropping: It is a good species for agroforestry systems; it has been grown in combination with watermelon, millets and forage grasses.