Acacia Facts

Acacia Facts
Acacia is a type of shrub or deciduous tree that belongs to the pea family. There are over 800 species of acacia that can be found in Australia, and in the tropical and subtropical areas of America, Asia, Africa and Europe. Acacia grows on well-drained soil, in dry and sunny habitats. People cultivate acacia in ornamental purposes and because of its wood that has application in the industry of furniture. Other than that, compounds isolated from acacia have application in medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
Interesting Acacia Facts:
Acacia usually grows to the height of 40 feet. Some types of acacia can reach 70 feet in height and 3 feet in diameter.
Most species of acacia have green, pinnate leaves. They are densely arranged on the branches and create impression of a giant fern. Species of acacia that grow in arid conditions have reduced leaves that consist only of vertically flattened leaf-stalks (without leaf-blades).
Non-Australian types of acacia are covered with sharp thorns (modified branches or leaf-stipules). Thorns protect plants from the hungry herbivores.
Swollen-thorn acacia (African species) lives in symbiosis (mutually beneficial relationship) with stinging ants. Acacia provides shelter (ants live inside the thorns) and food (they eat nectar). In return, ants protect plant from the herbivores.
Acacia develops pea-shaped flowers that consist of 5 petals. They are yellow or white, rarely purple or red colored. Flowers are arranged in dense, globular clusters at the end of the branches.
Acacia produces fragrant flowers with large number of long stamens that are responsible for the fuzzy appearance of the flowers.
Fruit of acacia is dry pod. It is elongated and filled with 5 to 6 brown or black seed.
Acacia can be propagated via seed or cuttings.
Seed and feathery shoot of acacia are used in Asian cuisine for the preparation of various soups, omelettes and curries. Americans like to consume liqueur made of flowers of acacia.
Leaves of acacia are important source of food for camels, goats, giraffes and cattle.
Flowers of acacia are used in the industry of perfumes and cosmetics.
Strong and durable wood of acacia was popular and widely used for the manufacture of ships in the past. Today, acacia is mostly used for the production of floorings, furniture, toys, jewelry and tools.
Tannins isolated from tree sap, leaves and bark are used for the tanning of leather. They are also used as preservatives and have application in the pharmaceutical industry.
Gum Arabic, isolated from African species of acacia, has application in the food industry. It is used as a thickening agent in the manufacture of soft drinks, frozen desserts and confectionery. It is also used as adhesive and cure. Ancient Egyptians used gum Arabic in paints.
Acacia has short lifespan. Most species live between 15 to 30 years.

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