Acacia Nilotica (Vachellia) - Gum Arabic Tree
Acacia Nilotica is a tree native from Egypt down to South Africa and across to India, but is naturalised outside this range to many other areas.
It is a medium sized tree with a dense crown, with bipinnate leaves.
Young trees have pairs of 5 cm spines along its branches; mature trees commonly no longer have these spines. Bright yellow spherical flowers around 2 cm in diameter are produced on mature trees, followed by long seed pods.
The dark fissured bark exudes a red gum, which is collected and known as Gum Arabic, historically used in dyes, and medicines. In modern times it is used in the food industry as a stabiliser and emulsifier (with the E number E414) in soft drinks, but is also used in cosmetics, inks and paints, and is the most commonly used glue used in cigarette papers.
Young twigs are also used traditionally as tooth brushes in India and south east Africa.
Grows to a height from 5 to 20 meters.
Frost tender, keep above 5°C.