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Brief Summary

Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees, often spine-bearing, that belongs to the subfamily Mimosoideae (family: Fabaceae). The fruits are the seed-bearing pods typical of Fabaceae (formerly Leguminosae). The generic name derives from ακακία (akakia, from ακις [akis, thorn]).

Until recently, ~1300 species worldwide were classified as Acacias—about 960 native to Australia, with the remainder in tropical to warm-temperate regions of Europe, Africa, southern Asia, and the Americas. However, in 2005, taxonomists divided Acacia into five separate genera: Acacia (the Australian species, with a few in tropical Asia, Madagascar and Pacific Islands); Vachellia and Senegalia (which include most species outside Australia); and Acaciella and Mariosousa (which each contain about a dozen species from the Americas).

Acacia leaves are generally compound pinnate. In some species, however, the leaflets are suppressed, and the leaf-stalks (petioles) become vertically flattened into phyllodes, oriented vertically to avoid intense sunlight. Some species (such as A. glaucoptera) lack leaves or phyllodes altogether, but possess instead cladodes, modified leaf-like photosynthetic stems functioning as leaves. Various species have sap that hardens into gum. Flowers are small with five petals, almost hidden by 10 (or more) long stamens, and arranged in dense globular or cylindrical clusters; they are generally yellow or cream-colored, but can be white, purple, or red.

Acacias have diverse and extensive uses, ranging from food (many species contain edible shoots and seeds, and the flowers are used to produce a delicate and non-crystallizing honey) and medicine to paint and perfume to timber and firewood. The leaves of many species bear large amounts of tannins, with wide commercial production for tanning leather. In the North America and Europe, acacia ingredients are used in soft drinks, chewing gums, candies, and mints. The sap of A. senegal and A. seyal yields gum arabic, which is used in foods, paints, inks, cosmetics, hair products, textiles, and numerous other products (Wikipedia 2011). Acacias are used to make incense, and may have been the “burning bush” of the Bible and the wood used to construct the Ark of the Tabernacle.

Many acacias produce alkaloid chemicals as defensive compounds to deter insects and mammalian herbivores. Some of these alkaloids are toxic to livestock, while others have psychoactive properties.

Acacias interact in various well-known mutualisms, such as one in which swollen thorn acacias of Costa Rica offer food and shelter to ants in exchange for protection from plant competitors and insect herbivores (Janzen 1966). (See National Geographic video, In another notable mutualism, acacia seeds that pass through the gut of large mammalian herbivores (such as elephants) are more likely to germinate—not because the digestive juices soften the hard seed coat, as previously thought, but because they kill the Bruchidae beetle larvae that parasitize most uneaten seeds (Attenborough 1995, Palmer et al. 2008); see ARKive video of a bruchid beetle eating seeds of A. tortilis (

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description


Trees, shrubs, or lianas; stems unarmed or spiny. Leaves alternate, bipinnate; pinnae opposite; leaflets small, numerous, opposite; petioles and rachis usually with nectariferous glands; stipules usually spiny, persistent; stipels absent. Flowers bisexual, produced in heads or spikes grouped in axillary or terminal racemes or panicles; bracts small. Calyx campanulate, of 5 united or free sepals; corolla yellow or white, tubular, with 4-5 lobes; stamens numerous, exserted, the filaments free or united at the base; ovary superior, sessile or stipitate, with several ovules, the style filiform, curved, pubescent on the distal portion. Fruit an oblong or linear legume, straight or curved, flattened to almost cylindrical, dehiscent or indehiscent; seeds of diverse forms, usually flattened. A genus of about 500 species, the majority of tropical America, tropical Africa, and Australia.


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Depth range based on 343 specimens in 8 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 333 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): -1.719 - -0.276
  Nitrate (umol/L): 22.947 - 30.321
  Salinity (PPS): 33.652 - 33.983
  Oxygen (ml/l): 7.524 - 8.205
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.410 - 2.073
  Silicate (umol/l): 25.926 - 64.901

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): -1.719 - -0.276

Nitrate (umol/L): 22.947 - 30.321

Salinity (PPS): 33.652 - 33.983

Oxygen (ml/l): 7.524 - 8.205

Phosphate (umol/l): 1.410 - 2.073

Silicate (umol/l): 25.926 - 64.901
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.


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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / sap sucker
Acizzia uncatoides sucks sap of Acacia

Foodplant / sap sucker
hypophyllous, colonial Aspidioterus nerii sucks sap of live leaf of Acacia

Foodplant / spinner
caterpillar of Cacoecimorpha pronubana spins live leaf of Acacia

Foodplant / sap sucker
Icerya purchasi sucks sap of live Acacia
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / sap sucker
Parthenolecanium corni sucks sap of live shoot of Acacia

Foodplant / sap sucker
Rhizoecus sucks sap of live stem base of Acacia
Other: major host/prey


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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Leaves signal presence of predators: acacia

The leaves of acacias send a warning to other plants that herbivores are feeding by releasing ethylene gas.

  "The African acacias, well-protected though they may be by their thorns, use distasteful chemicals in their leaves as a second line of defence. Furthermore, and most remarkably, they warn one another that they are doing so. At the same time as they fill their leaves with poison, they release ethylene gas which drifts out of the pores of their leaves. Other acacias within fifty yards are able to detect this and as soon as they do so, they themselves begin to manufacture poison and distribute it to their leaves." (Attenborough 1995:70)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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Functional adaptation

Cyanogenic poison protects from herbivores: acacia

The leaves of acacia trees protect from being eaten by producing a cyanogenic poison.

  "The African acacias, well-protected though they may be by their thorns, use distasteful chemicals in their leaves as a second line of defence. Furthermore, and most remarkably, they warn one another that they are doing so. At the same time as they fill their leaves with poison, they release ethylene gas which drifts out of the pores of their leaves. Other acacias within fifty yards are able to detect this and as soon as they do so, they themselves begin to manufacture poison and distribute it to their leaves." (Attenborough 1995:70)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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Functional adaptation

Tastiness protects seeds from beetles: acacia

Seeds of Acacia trees survive attacks by parasitic beetles by attracting herbivores whose digestive juices kill the parasites' larvae.

  "The species of acacia whose umbrella shape is so typical of the plains of East Africa encloses its seeds in small twisted pods. These are very rich in protein and many of the plant-eating animals on the plain relish them. Those seeds that remain uneaten on the ground seldom if ever germinate, whereas those that are swallowed with the pods do. It used to be thought that this was because stewing in digestive juices weakened the covering of the seeds and made it possible for the infant plant within to break out. The truth, however, is somewhat different. Within a few hours of the acacia tree shedding its pods, large numbers of a particular kind of small beetle fly in, pierce the pods with their sharp ovipositors and lay their eggs within. The eggs hatch rapidly and the tiny grubs then proceed to feed on the acacia's seeds. Unless, that is, the pods are eaten by an animal such as an elephant. Although the elephant grinds up the pods with its teeth, many of the seeds remain unharmed and are swallowed with the mash. In the stomach all the beetle eggs are killed stone dead by the digestive juices. So when the seeds finally return to the outside world with the animal's droppings, they have been freed from their insect pests by the elephant, just as effectively as seeds of wheat that have been treated by a farmer with insecticide." (Attenborough 1995:29-30)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:1128
Specimens with Sequences:1320
Specimens with Barcodes:1025
Species With Barcodes:306
Public Records:620
Public Species:265
Public BINs:0
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Barcode data

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Acacia!<-- This template has to be "warmed up" before it can be used, for some reason -->

Acacia (pronounced /əˈkeɪʃə/) is a genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae, first described in Africa by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1773. Many non-Australian species tend to be thorny, whereas the majority of Australian acacias are not. They are pod-bearing, with sap and leaves typically bearing large amounts of tannins and condensed tannins that historically in many species found use as pharmaceuticals and preservatives.

The generic name derives from ακακία (akakia), the name given by early Greek botanist-physician Pedanius Dioscorides (ca. 40-90) to the medicinal tree A. nilotica in his book Materia Medica.[2] This name derives from the Greek word for its characteristic thorns, ακις (akis, thorn).[3] The species name nilotica was given by Linnaeus from this tree's best-known range along the Nile river.

Acacias are also known as thorntrees, whistling thorns or wattles, including the yellow-fever acacia and umbrella acacias.

Until 2005, there were thought to be roughly 1300 species of acacia worldwide, about 960 of them native to Australia, with the remainder spread around the tropical to warm-temperate regions of both hemispheres, including Europe, Africa, southern Asia, and the Americas. However, the genus was then divided into five, with the name Acacia retained for the Australian species (and a few in tropical Asia, Madagascar and Pacific Islands), and most of the species outside Australia divided into Vachellia and Senegalia. The two final genera, Acaciella and Mariosousa, only contain about a dozen species from the Americas each.



The genus Acacia is evidently not monophyletic. This discovery has led to the breaking up of Acacia into five new genera as discussed in: List of Acacia species. In common parlance, the term "acacia" is occasionally misapplied to species of the genus Robinia, which also belongs in the pea family. Robinia pseudoacacia, an American species locally known as Black Locust, is sometimes called "false acacia" in cultivation in the United Kingdom.


The southernmost species in the genus are Acacia dealbata (Silver Wattle), Acacia longifolia (Coast Wattle or Sydney Golden Wattle), Acacia mearnsii (Black Wattle), and Acacia melanoxylon (Blackwood), reaching 43°30' S in Tasmania, Australia, while Acacia caven (Espinillo Negro) reaches nearly as far south in northeastern Chubut Province of Argentina. Australian species are usually called wattles, while African and American species tend to be known as acacias.

Acacia albida, Acacia tortilis and Acacia iraqensis can be found growing wild in the Sinai desert and the Jordan valley. It is found in the savanna vegetation of the tropical continental climate. It grows wild in Montserrat West Indies; there it is locally referred to as 'cusha.'


The leaves of acacias are compound pinnate in general. In some species, however, more especially in the Australian and Pacific islands species, the leaflets are suppressed, and the leaf-stalks (petioles) become vertically flattened, and serve the purpose of leaves. These are known as phyllodes. The vertical orientation of the phyllodes protects them from intense sunlight, as with their edges towards the sky and earth they do not intercept light so fully as horizontally placed leaves. A few species (such as Acacia glaucoptera) lack leaves or phyllodes altogether, but possess instead cladodes, modified leaf-like photosynthetic stems functioning as leaves.

The small flowers have five very small petals, almost hidden by the long stamens, and are arranged in dense globular or cylindrical clusters; they are yellow or cream-colored in most species, whitish in some, even purple (Acacia purpureapetala) or red (Acacia leprosa Scarlet Blaze). Acacia flowers can be distinguished from those of a large related genus, Albizia, by their stamens which are not joined at the base. Also, unlike individual Mimosa flowers, those of Acacia have more than 10 stamens.[4]

The plants often bear spines, especially those species growing in arid regions. These sometimes represent branches which have become short, hard and pungent, or sometimes leaf-stipules. Acacia armata is the Kangaroo-thorn of Australia and Acacia erioloba is the Camelthorn of Africa.

Acacia seeds can be difficult to germinate. Research has found that immersing the seeds in various temperatures (usually around 80 °C) and manual seed coat chipping can improve yields to approximately 80 percent.[5]


Acacia collinsii Thorns

In the Central American Acacia sphaerocephala, Acacia cornigera, and Acacia collinsii (collectively known as the bullthorn acacias), the large thorn-like stipules are hollow and afford shelter for several species of Pseudomyrmex ants, which feed on a secretion of sap on the leaf-stalk and small, lipid-rich food-bodies at the tips of the leaflets called Beltian bodies. In return, the ants add protection to the plant against herbivores.[6] Some species of ants will also fight off competing plants around the acacia, cutting off the offending plant's leaves with their jaws and ultimately killing it. Other associated ant species appear to do nothing to benefit their hosts.

Similar mutualisms with ants occur on Acacia trees in Africa, such as the Whistling Thorn acacia. The acacias provide shelter for ants in the thorns and nectar in extrafloral nectaries for their symbiotic ants such as Crematogaster mimosae. In turn, the ants protect the plant by attacking large mammalian herbivores and stem-boring beetles that damage the plant.


In Australia, Acacia species are sometimes used as food plants by the larvae of hepialid moths of the genus Aenetus including A. ligniveren. These burrow horizontally into the trunk then vertically down. Other Lepidoptera larvae which have been recorded feeding on Acacia include Brown-tail, Endoclita malabaricus and Turnip Moth. The leaf-mining larvae of some bucculatricid moths also feed on Acacia: Bucculatrix agilis feeds exclusively on Acacia horrida and Bucculatrix flexuosa feeds exclusively on Acacia nilotica.

Acacias contain a number of organic compounds that defend them from pests and grazing animals.[7]


Food uses

Acacia seed pods, also known as Guajes, served as part of a botana in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Acacia seeds in the Negev, Israel.

Acacia seeds are often used for food and a variety of other products.

In Burma, Laos and Thailand, the feathery shoots of Acacia pennata (common name cha-om, ชะอม and su pout ywet in Burmese) are used in soups, curries, omelettes, and stir-fries.

Honey made by bees using the acacia flower as forage is considered a delicacy, appreciated for its mild flowery taste, soft running texture and glass-like appearance. Acacia honey is one of the few honeys which does not crystallize.[8]
In Mexico the seeds are known as Guajes. Guajes or huajes are the flat, green pods of an acacia tree. The pods are sometimes light green or deep red in color—both taste the same. Guaje seeds are about the size of a small lima bean and are eaten raw with guacamole, sometimes cooked and made into a sauce. They can also be made into fritters. The ground seeds are used to impart a slightly garlicy flavor to a mole called guaxmole (huaxmole). The dried seeds may be toasted and salted and eaten as a snack referred to as "cacalas". Purchase whole long pods fresh or dried at Mexican specialty markets.

The first-known predominantly vegetarian spider Bagheera kiplingi, which is found in Central America and Mexico, was first documented and filmed in 2009 feeding from the tips of the acacia plants which are known as Beltian bodies which contain high concentrations of protein. All other 40,000 known species of spider's diets are mainly believed to be carnivorous.

Acacia is listed as an ingredient in Sun Drop, Fresca, a citrus soft drink, RC Cola, Barq's root beer, Full Throttle Unleaded Energy Drink, Strawberry-Lemonade Powerade[9] as well as in Läkerol pastille candies, Altoids mints, Langer's Pineapple coconut Juice, Wrigley's Eclipse chewing gum and M&Ms Pretzel.


Various species of acacia yield gum. True gum arabic is the product of Acacia senegal, abundant in dry tropical West Africa from Senegal to northern Nigeria.

Acacia arabica is the gum-Arabic tree of India, but yields a gum inferior to the true gum-Arabic.

Medicinal uses

Many Acacia species have important uses in traditional medicine. Most of the uses have been shown to have a scientific basis since chemical compounds found in the various species have medicinal effects.[citation needed]

In Ayurvedic medicine, Acacia nilotica is considered a remedy that is helpful for treating premature ejaculation. A 19th century Ethiopian medical text describes a potion made from an Ethiopian species of Acacia (known as grar) mixed with the root of the tacha, then boiled, as a cure for rabies.[10]

An astringent medicine high in tannins, called catechu or cutch, is procured from several species, but more especially from Acacia catechu, by boiling down the wood and evaporating the solution so as to get an extract.[11]

Ornamental uses

A few species are widely grown as ornamentals in gardens; the most popular perhaps is Acacia dealbata (Silver Wattle), with its attractive glaucous to silvery leaves and bright yellow flowers; it is erroneously known as "mimosa" in some areas where it is cultivated, through confusion with the related genus Mimosa.

Another ornamental acacia is Acacia xanthophloea (Fever Tree). Southern European florists use Acacia baileyana, Acacia dealbata, Acacia pycnantha and Acacia retinodes as cut flowers and the common name there for them is mimosa.[12]

Ornamental species of acacia are also used by homeowners and landscape architects for home security. The sharp thorns of some species deter unauthorized persons from entering private properties, and may prevent break-ins if planted under windows and near drainpipes. The aesthetic characteristics of acacia plants, in conjunction with their home security qualities, makes them a considerable alternative to artificial fences and walls.


The ancient Egyptians used Acacia in paints.[13]


Acacia farnesiana is used in the perfume industry due to its strong fragrance. The use of Acacia as a fragrance dates back centuries. In the Bible, burning of acacia wood as a form of incense is mentioned several times.

Symbolism and ritual

The Acacia is used as a symbol in Freemasonry, to represent purity and endurance of the soul, and as funerary symbolism signifying resurrection and immortality. The tree gains its importance from the description of the burial of Hiram Abiff, the builder of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

Several parts (mainly bark, root and resin) of Acacia are used to make incense for rituals. Acacia is used in incense mainly in India, Nepal, and China including in its Tibet region. Smoke from Acacia bark is thought to keep demons and ghosts away and to put the gods in a good mood. Roots and resin from Acacia are combined with rhododendron, acorus, cytisus, salvia and some other components of incense. Both people and elephants like an alcoholic beverage made from acacia fruit.[14] According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, the Acacia tree may be the “burning bush” (Exodus 3:2) which Moses encountered in the desert.[15] Also, when God gave Moses the instructions for building the Tabernacle, he said to "make an ark of acacia wood" and "make a table of acacia wood" (Exodus 25:10 & 23, Revised Standard Version)

In Russia, Italy and other countries it is customary to present women with yellow mimosas (among other flowers) on International Women's Day (March 8). These "mimosas" are actually from Acacia dealbata (Silver Wattle).


A bottle of tannic acid.

The bark of various Australian species, known as wattles, is very rich in tannin and forms an important article of export; important species include Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), Acacia decurrens (Tan Wattle), Acacia dealbata (Silver Wattle) and Acacia mearnsii (Black Wattle).

Tannin Content of Various Acacia Species
Dried Leaves
Seed Pods
Tannins [%]
Tannins [%]
Tannins [%]
Acacia albida
Acacia cavenia32%[17]  
Acacia dealbata19.1%[18]  
Acacia decurrens37-40%[18]  
Acacia farnesiana23%[18]  
Acacia mearnsii25-35%[16]  
Acacia melanoxylon20%[17]  
Acacia nilotica18-23%*[16] 
Acacia penninervis18%[17]  
Acacia pycnantha30-45%[17]  15-16%[17]  
Acacia saligna21.5%[18]  

  Notes: * - Inner bark

Black Wattle is grown in plantations in South Africa. Most Australian acacia species introduced to South Africa have become an enormous problem, due to their naturally aggressive propagation. The pods of Acacia nilotica (under the name of neb-neb), and of other African species are also rich in tannin and used by tanners.


Acacia tree near the end of its range in the Negev Desert of southern Israel.

Some Acacia species are valuable as timber, such as Acacia melanoxylon (Blackwood) from Australia, which attains a great size; its wood is used for furniture, and takes a high polish; and Acacia omalophylla (Myall Wood, also Australian), which yields a fragrant timber used for ornaments. Acacia seyal is thought to be the Shittah-tree of the Bible, which supplied shittim-wood. According to the Book of Exodus, this was used in the construction of the Ark of the Covenant. Acacia koa from the Hawaiian Islands and Acacia heterophylla from Réunion island are both excellent timber trees. Depending on abundance and regional culture, some Acacia species (e.g. Acacia fumosa), are traditionally used locally as firewoods.[19]

Acacia heterophylla Wood
Approximate wood densities of various acacia species
Heartwood Density
Sapwood Density
Acacia acuminata
Acacia amythethophylla
Acacia catechu
Acacia confusa
Acacia erioloba
Acacia galpinii
Acacia goetzii
Acacia karoo
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera subsp. mellifera
Acacia nilotica
Acacia nilotica subsp. adstringens
Acacia nilotica subsp. nilotica
Acacia polyacantha subsp. campylacantha
Acacia sieberiana

In Indonesia (mainly in Sumatra) and in Malaysia (mainly in Sarawak) plantations of Acacia mangium are being established to supply pulpwood to the paper industry.

Land Reclamation

Acacia can be planted for erosion control, especially after mining or construction damage.[24]

Ecological invasion

For the same reasons it is favored as an erosion-control plant, with its easy spreading and resilience, some varieties of acacia, namely Acacia mearnsii, are potentially an invasive species. Introduced worldwide it has become an invasive plant which is taking over grasslands and the abandoned agricultural areas, especially in moderate coastal and island regions where mild climate propagates its spreading. Australian/New Zealand Weed Risk Assessment gives it a "high risk, score of 15" rating and it is considered one of the world's 100 most invasive species.[25] Extensive ecological studies should be performed before further introduction of acacia varieties as this fast-growing plant, once introduced, spreads fast and is extremely difficult to eradicate.

Phytochemistry of Acacia


Egyptian goddess Isis

As mentioned previously, Acacias contain a number of organic compounds that defend them from pests and grazing animals.[7] Many of these compounds are psychoactive in humans. The alkaloids found in Acacias include dimethyltryptamine (DMT), 5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) and N-methyltryptamine (NMT). The plant leaves, stems and/or roots are sometimes made into a brew together with some MAOI-containing plant and consumed orally for healing, ceremonial or religious uses. Egyptian mythology has associated the acacia tree with characteristics of the tree of life (see the article on the Myth of Osiris and Isis).

Acacias Known to Contain Psychoactive Alkaloids
Acacia acuminata
Up to 1.5% alkaloids, mainly consisting of tryptamine in leaf[26]
Acacia adunca
β-methyl-phenethylamine, 2.4% in leaves[27]
Alpina mueller.jpg
Acacia alpina
Active principles in leaf[28]
Acacia aneura blossom.jpg
Acacia aneura
Ash used in Pituri.[29] Ether extracts about 2-6% of the dried leaf mass.[30] Not known if psychoactive per se.
Acacia angustissima usgs.png
Acacia angustissima
β-methyl-phenethylamine,[31] NMT and DMT in leaf (1.1-10.2 ppm)[32]
Acacia aroma
Tryptamine alkaloids.[33] Significant amount of tryptamine in the seeds.[34]
Starr 031013-8001 Acacia auriculiformis.jpg
Acacia auriculiformis
5-MeO-DMT in stem bark[35]
Acacia baileyana.jpg
Acacia baileyana
0.02% tryptamine and β-carbolines, in the leaf, Tetrahydroharman[28][36][37]
Acacia beauverdiana
Psychoactive[38] Ash used in Pituri.[29]
Acacia berlandieri
DMT, amphetamines, mescaline, nicotine[39]
Acacia catechu
DMT[40] and other tryptamines in leaf, bark
Acacia caven
Acacia chundra
DMT and other tryptamines in leaf, bark
Acacia colei
Acacia complanata
0.3% alkaloids in leaf and stem, almost all N-methyl-tetrahydroharman, with traces of tetrahydroharman, some of tryptamine[42][43][44]
Acacia concinna Blanco2.374.png
Acacia concinna
Starr 050107-2872 Acacia confusa.jpg
Acacia confusa
DMT & NMT in leaf, stem & bark 0.04% NMT and 0.02% DMT in stem.[28] Also N,N-dimethyltryptamine N-oxide[46]
Acacia constricta flower.jpg
Acacia constricta
Acacia coriacea
Ash used in Pituri.[29][47] Not known if psychoactive.
Acacia cornigera
Psychoactive,[47] Tryptamines[14]
Acacia cultriformis leaves.jpg
Acacia cultriformis
Tryptamine, in the leaf, stem[28] and seeds.[34] Phenethylamine in leaf and seeds[34]
Acacia cuthbertsonii
Acacia delibrata
Acacia falcata Eastwood.jpg
Acacia falcata
Psychoactive,[38] but less than 0.02% alkaloids[37]
Acacia farnesiana
Traces of 5-MeO-DMT[48] in fruit. β-methyl-phenethylamine, flower.[49] Ether extracts about 2-6% of the dried leaf mass.[30] Alkaloids are present in the bark[50] and leaves.[51] Amphetamines and mescaline also found in tree.[14]
Acacia filiciana
Added to Pulque, but not known if psychoactive[47]
Acacia floribunda
Tryptamine, phenethylamine,[52] in flowers[34] other tryptamines, phenethylamines[53]
Acacia greggii thorns.jpg
Acacia greggii
N-methyl-β-phenethylamine,[31] phenethylamine[7]
Acacia harpophylla
Phenethylamine, hordenine at a ratio of 2:3 in dried leaves, 0.6% total[27]
Acacia holoserica
Hordenine, 1.2% in bark[27]
Acacia horrida
Acacia implexa
Acacia jurema
Acacia karroo2.jpg
Acacia karroo
Acacia kempeana
Used in Pituri, but not known if psychoactive.[47]
Acacia kettlewelliae
1.5[27]-1.88%[55] alkaloids, 92% consisting of phenylethylamine.[27] 0.9% N-methyl-2-

phenylethylamine found a different time.[27]

Acacia laeta
DMT, in the leaf[28]
Acacia lingulata
Used in Pituri, but not known if psychoactive.[47]
Acacia longifolia
0.2% tryptamine in bark, leaves, some in flowers, phenylethylamine in flowers,[52] 0.2% DMT in plant.[56] Histamine alkaloids.[37]
Acacia longifolia
var. sophorae
Tryptamine in leaves, bark[34]
Acacia macradenia
Acacia maidenii.jpg
Acacia maidenii
0.6% NMT and DMT in about a 2:3 ratio in the stem bark, both present in leaves[28]
Starr 031013-8002 Acacia mangium.jpg
Acacia mangium
Acacia melanoxylon branch.jpg
Acacia melanoxylon
DMT, in the bark and leaf,[57] but less than 0.02% total alkaloids[37]
Acacia mellifera 3D-Modell.jpg
Acacia mellifera
DMT, in the leaf[28]
Babool (Acacia nilotica) leaves & spines at Hodal W IMG 1251.jpg
Acacia nilotica
DMT, in the leaf[28]
Acacia nilotica
subsp. adstringens
Psychoactive, DMT in the leaf
Acacia obtusifolia
Tryptamine, DMT, NMT, other tryptamines,[58] 0.4-0.5% in dried bark, 0.07% in branch tips.[59]
Acacia oerfota
Less than 0.1% DMT in leaf,[36][60] NMT
Acacia penninervis
Acacia phlebophylla.jpg
Acacia phlebophylla
0.3% DMT in leaf, NMT[28]
Starr 020911-0004 Acacia podalyriifolia.jpg
Acacia podalyriaefolia
Tryptamine in the leaf,[28] 0.5% to 2% DMT in fresh bark, phenethylamine, trace amounts[52]
Acacia polycantha.png
Acacia polyacantha
DMT in leaf[28] and other tryptamines in leaf, bark
Acacia polyacantha
ssp. campylacantha
Less than 0.2% DMT in leaf, NMT; DMT and other tryptamines in leaf, bark[61]
Acacia prominens 3.jpg
Acacia prominens
Phenylethylamine, β-methyl-phenethylamine[27][52]
Acacia pruinocarpa
Ash used in Pituri.[29][47] Not known if psychoactive.
Acacia pycnantha Golden Wattle.jpg
Acacia pycnantha
Ash used in Pituri,[47] but less than 0.02% total alkaloids.[37] Not known if psychoactive.
Acacia melanoxylon2.jpg
Acacia retinodes
DMT, NMT,[62] nicotine,[14] but less than 0.02% total alkaloids found[37]
Acacia rigidula.jpg
Acacia rigidula
DMT, NMT, tryptamine, amphetamines, mescaline, nicotine and others[63]
Acacia roemeriana 01nsh.jpg
Acacia roemeriana
Acacia Rose.jpg
Acacia rose
Acacia rose blooming in the garden.[28]
Acacia salicina
Ash used in Pituri.[29][47] Not known if psychoactive.
Acacia sassa
Acacia schaffneri
β-methyl-phenethylamine, Phenethylamine[7] Amphetamines and mescaline also found.[14]
Acacia schottii
Acacia senegal
Less than 0.1% DMT in leaf,[28] NMT, other tryptamines. DMT in plant,[49] DMT in bark.[34]
Acacia seyal
DMT, in the leaf.[28] Ether extracts about 1-7% of the dried leaf mass.[30]
Acacia sieberiana
DMT, in the leaf[28]
Acacia simplex.jpg
Acacia simplex
DMT and NMT, in the leaf, stem and trunk bark, 0.81% DMT in bark, MMT[28][64]
Acacia taxensis
Acacia tortilis
DMT, NMT, and other tryptamines[58]
Acacia vestita
Tryptamine, in the leaf and stem,[28] but less than 0.02% total alkaloids[37]
Acacia victoriae
Tryptamines, 5-MeO-alkyltryptamine[34]
List of acacia species having little or no alkaloids in the material sampled:[37]

0% \le C \le 0.02%, C...Concentration of Alkaloids [%]

Cyanogenic glycosides

Nineteen different species of Acacia in the Americas contain cyanogenic glycosides, which, if exposed to an enzyme which specifically splits glycosides, can release hydrogen cyanide (HCN) in the acacia "leaves."[65] This sometimes results in the poisoning death of livestock.

If fresh plant material spontaneously produces 200 ppm or more HCN, then it is potentially toxic. This corresponds to about 7.5 μmol HCN per gram of fresh plant material. It turns out that, if acacia "leaves" lack the specific glycoside-splitting enzyme, then they may be less toxic than otherwise, even those containing significant quantities of cyanic glycosides.[37]

Some Acacia species containing cyanogens:

  • Acacia erioloba
  • Acacia cunninghamii
  • Acacia obtusifolia
  • Acacia sieberiana
  • Acacia sieberiana var. woodii[66]


There are over 1,300 species of Acacia. See List of Acacia species for a more complete listing.

Famous acacia

Perhaps the most famous acacia is the Arbre du Ténéré in Niger. The reason for the tree's fame is that it used to be the most isolated tree in the world, approximately 400 km (249 mi) from any other tree. The tree was knocked down by a truck driver in 1973.

Identification gallery




Seed pods





See also


  1. ^ Genus: Acacia Mill. - Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
  2. ^ "Acacia nilotica (acacia)". Plants & Fungi. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  3. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 1 A-C. CRC Press. p. 6. ISBN 9780849326752. 
  4. ^ Singh, Gurcharan (2004). Plant Systematics: An Integrated Approach. Science Publishers. pp. 445. ISBN 1578083516. 
  5. ^ J Clemens, PG Jones, NH Gilbert (1977). "Effect of seed treatments on germination in Acacia". Australian Journal of Botany 25 (3): 269–267. doi:10.1071/BT9770269. 
  6. ^ "Evolutionary change from induced to constitutive expression of an indirect plant resistance : Abstract : Nature". Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  7. ^ a b c d Chemistry of Acacias from South Texas
  8. ^ "Seggiano Honeys". Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Richard Pankhurst, An Introduction to the Medical History of Ethiopia (Trenton: Red Sea Press, 1990), p. 97
  11. ^ An OCR'd version of the US Dispensatory by Remington and Wood, 1918.
  12. ^ World Wide Wattle
  13. ^ Excerpt from A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Fifth Edition (Paperback)
  14. ^ a b c d e Naturheilpraxis Fachforum (German)
  15. ^ Easton's Bible Dictionary: Bush
  16. ^ a b c d Purdue University
  17. ^ a b c d e Google Books Select Extra-tropical Plants Readily Eligible for Industrial Culture Or Naturalization By Ferdinand von Mueller
  18. ^ a b c d Plants for a Future Database
  19. ^ Maugh, T.H.II. (2009-04-24). "New species of tree identified in Ethiopia". Los Angeles Times.,0,402549.story. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  20. ^ Aussie Fantom
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l The timber properties of Acacia species and their uses
  22. ^ a b c d FAO
  23. ^ Timber hardness and durability table, Timber Merchants Association (Vic., Australia)
  24. ^ Barr, D. A., and Atkinson, W. J. (1970). "Stabilization of coastal sands after mining". J. Soil Conserv. Serv. N.S.W. 26: 89–105.. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Lycaeum
  27. ^ a b c d e f g Fitzgerald, J.S. Alkaloids of the Australian Legumuminosae -- The Occurrence of Phenylethylame Derivatives in Acacia Species, Aust. J . Chem., 1964, 17, 160-2.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Shaman Australis
  29. ^ a b c d e Duboisia hopwoodii - Pituri Bush - Solanaceae - Central America
  30. ^ a b c Wattle Seed Workshop Proceedings 12 March 2002, Canberra March 2003 RIRDC Publication No 03/024, RIRDC Project No WS012-06
  31. ^ a b c d e f Glasby, John Stephen (1991). Dictionary of Plants Containing Secondary Metabolites. CRC Press. pp. 2. ISBN 0850664233. 
  32. ^ English Title: Nutritive value assessment of the tropical shrub legume Acacia angustissima: anti-nutritional compounds and in vitro digestibility. Personal Authors: McSweeney, C. S., Krause, D. O., Palmer, B., Gough, J., Conlan, L. L., Hegarty, M. P. Author Affiliation: CSIRO Livestock Industries, Long Pocket Laboratories, 120 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, Qld 4068, Australia. Document Title: Animal Feed Science and Technology, 2005 (Vol. 121) (No. 1/2) 175-190
  33. ^ Maya Ethnobotanicals
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h Acacia (Polish)
  35. ^ Lycaeum
  36. ^ a b
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chemotaxonomie der Pflanzen By Robert Hegnauer
  38. ^ a b c d e
  39. ^ Ask Dr. Shulgin Online: Acacias and Natural Amphetamine
  40. ^ Sacred Elixirs
  41. ^
  42. ^ Acacia Complanata Phytochemical Studies
  43. ^ Lycaeum -- Acacias and Entheogens
  44. ^ Lycaeum
  45. ^ SBEPL
  46. ^ NMR spectral assignments of a new chlorotryptamine alkaloid and its analogues from Acacia confusa Malcolm S. Buchanan, Anthony R. Carroll, David Pass, Ronald J. Quinn Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry Volume 45, Issue 4 , Pages359 - 361. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  47. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Index of Rätsch, Christian. Enzyklopädie der psychoaktiven Pflanzen, Botanik, Ethnopharmakologie und Anwendungen, 7. Auflage. AT Verlag, 2004, 941 Seiten. ISBN 3855025703 at [2]
  48. ^ Lycaeum
  49. ^ a b Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
  50. ^
  51. ^ Purdue University
  52. ^ a b c d Hegnauer, Robert (1994). Chemotaxonomie der Pflanzen. Springer. pp. 500. ISBN 3764329793. 
  53. ^ Lycaeum (Acacia floribunda)
  54. ^ (Swedish)
  55. ^ Acacia kettlewelliae
  56. ^ Lycaeum Acacia longifolia
  57. ^
  58. ^ a b (Swedish)
  59. ^ Acacia obtusifolia Phytochemical Studies
  60. ^ Plants Containing DMT (German)
  61. ^ Hortipedia
  62. ^ Pflanzentabelle APB (German)
  63. ^ Magiska Molekylers wiki
  64. ^ Arbeitsstelle für praktische Biologie (APB)
  65. ^ Cyanogenic Glycosides in Ant-Acacias of Mexico and Central America David S. Seigler, John E. Ebinger The Southwestern Naturalist, Vol. 32, No. 4 (December 9, 1987), pp. 499-503 doi:10.2307/3671484
  66. ^ FAO Kamal M. Ibrahim, The current state of knowledge on Prosopis juliflora...

General references

  • Clement, B.A., Goff, C.M., Forbes, T.D.A. Toxic Amines and Alkaloids from Acacia rigidula, Phytochem. 1998, 49(5), 1377.
  • Shulgin, Alexander and Ann, TiHKAL the Continuation. Transform Press, 1997. ISBN 0-9630096-9-9
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