Saturday, October 23, 2010

Acacia: Umbrella Thorn and Otherwise

"Umbrella Thorn Acacia"

"...A tree that commonly brings thoughts of the African desert to mind, the umbrella thorn acacia tree grows in many places. In the driest soil and conditions, it may only be a wiry bush low to the ground. Most sightings of the tree show a looming, wide species with a distinct shape.

"Not completely unique to the Serengeti, this particular form of the acacia tree is native to the savannas of Africa but grows as far as the Middle East and has been planted in India and Malawi. Other names for the tree include the Israeli Bambool, samar, abak and karamoja.

"The umbrella thorn acacia, or acacia tortilis, can grow to a size from 13 to 68 feet tall and spreads its branches over a wide area, hence the name. Up to 15 leaves, just under an inch long themselves, sprout from the 4 - 10 pinnae on each branch. A mature tree looks much like a giant umbrella, covering the soil and wildlife underneath. It boasts two different sizes of thorns, the longer being straight and white and the shorter more curved and brown in color. Some consider the tree unusable or difficult to use due to the thorns...."

Well, that's interesting.

Acacia wood - there's a wide variety of "acacia" plants, by the way - is useful stuff. And has quite a long history.


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