Acacisamily: N.O. Leguminosae
Acacias (nat. order, Leguminosae) are composed of handsome trees and shrubby bushes scattered over the warmer regions of the globe. The flowers are arranged in rounded or elongated clusters, the leaves generally compoundly pinnate, i.e. divided into leaflets up to the mid-rib and each leaflet similarly cut into narrow segments.
In several of the Australian species the leaflets are suppressed and the leaf stalks, vertically flattened serve the purpose of leaves. Some species afford valuable timber: the black wood of Australia, which is used for furniture because it takes such a high polish, is the wood of the . melanoxylon. The bark of another Australian species, known as Wattles, is rich in tannin and forms a valuable article of export. The pods of other species are employed in Egypt and Nubia for their tannin. The pods of the A. Concuine are used by Indian women in the same way as the soapnut for washing the head; and the leaves of the same tree are employed in cookery for their acidity.
Certain tribes on the Amazon use the seeds of another species, the Acacia Niopo, for snuff combined with lime and cocculus. Various species of acacia yield gum; but the best gum arabic used in medicine is an exudation from the A. Senegal. This species grows abundantly in East and West tropical Africa, forming forests in Senegambia north of the River Senegal. Most of the gum acacia collected in Upper Egypt and the Sudan is produced by the A. verek, and is known locally as Hachah.