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Overview

Comprehensive Description

5. Acacia cornigera (L.) Willdenow, Sp. PI. 4: 1080. 1806. Mimosa cornigera L. Sp. PI. 520. 1753. Tauroceras cornigerum (L.) Britton & Rose, N. Amer. FI. 23: 86. 1928. TYPE: in the Linnean Herbarium, from a cultivated plant grown in the garden of George Clifford, between Haarlem and Leyden , Holland , collected by Linnaeus (No. 4) and bearing his label " Mimosa cornigera ," presumably grown from Mexican seed (Rudd, 1964) ( holotype , BM ; fragment and photo, US ) .

Acacia cornigera (L.) Willd. var. americana DC. Prodr. 2: 460. 1825.

Acacia spadicigera Schltdl. & Cham. , Linnaea 5: 594. 1830. Tauroceras spadicigerum (Schltdl. & Cham.) Britton & Rose, N. Amer. FI. 23: 85. 1928. TYPE: Mexico . Veracruz : near La Laguna Verde , Mar. 1828 , Schiede & Deppe685 ( lectotype , designated here, US , fragment [ B destroyed]) .

Acacia campecheana Schenck , Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 361. 1913. type: Mexico . Campeche : von Chrismar ( holotype , B destroyed) .

Acacia cubensis Schenck , Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 360. 1913. type: Cuba . N coast , 21 Apr. 1863 , C. Wright2402 ( lectotype , designated here, US fragment and photo [ B destroyed]; isotypes, G , GOET , HAL , JE , K , MO , US ). A note on the herbarium sheet (JE) indicates that the seeds he grew came from Martinique .

Acacia interjecta Schenck , Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 361. 1913. TYPE: Engler3870a ( lectotype , designated here, JE [ B destroyed]). Material growing in the Singapore and Kew Botanical Gardens (Janzen, 1974) .

Acacia nicoyensis Schenck , Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 360. 1913. TYPE: Costa Rica . Guanacaste : shore of the Gulf of Nicoya , sea level , Feb. 1900 , A. Tonduz13538 ( lectotype , designated here, US [ B destroyed]; isotypes, BM , GH , K , NY , US ) .

Acacia rossiana Schenck , Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 361. 1913. type: Mexico . Veracruz : Santa Lucrezia, Isthmus of Tehuantepec , 8 Oct. 1906 , H. Ross918 ( lectotype , designated here, M , photo, US ) .

Acacia furcella Saff ., J. Wash. Acad. Sei. 4: 359. 1914. TYPE: Mexico . Veracruz : shore of Lake Catemaco, southern Veracruz , 1000 ft ., 26 Apr. 1894 , E. W. Nelson427 ( holotype , US ) .

Acacia hernandezii Saff ., J. Wash. Acad. Sei. 4: 358. 1914. TYPE: Mexico . San Luis Potosi : vicinity of Rascon , 19-22 July 1905 , E. Palmer699 ( holotype , US ; isotypes, F , GH , MO , NY ) .

Acacia turgida Saff . in W. M. Wheeler, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zoology Harvard Coll. 90: plate 45, 1942 ( holotype , plate 45 in Wheeler, 1942) .

Shrub or small tree to 10 (rarely 15) m tall, young twigs dark gray to reddish brown, lightly to densely puberulent. Stipular spines light to dark brown to sometimes ivory to yellow, glabrous to densely puberulent, smooth, terete to slightly flattened, symmetrical, commonly V-shaped with an angle of 60-150°, straight to slightly reflexed near the apex, 30-100 mm long, 4-10 mm thick near the base. Leaves 40-160 mm long; pinnae 3-14 pairs per leaf, 30-70 mm long, 7-17 mm between pinna pairs; rachis grooved, glabrous to densely puberulent, rachis glands usually absent; petiole grooved, usually puberulent, 5-20 mm long. Petiolar gland (Fig. 1 F ) canoe-shaped, usually solitary, glabrous, striate on the sides, apex 1-4 mm long, located near the middle to top of the petiole, sometimes a small tubular gland below. Leaflets 15-40 pairs per pinna, glabrous, oblong, 4-11 mm long, 1.3-2.7 mm wide, 2-3 veins from the base, lateral veins obvious, apex usually mucronate. Inflorescence a densely flowered, cylindrical spike, 20-35 mm long, 8-11 mm thick near the base and narrowing slightly toward the blunt apex, solitary in the leaf axil, or solitary or in clusters of 2-4 in the axil of small spines on short, lateral, usually leafless, axillary branches; peduncles glabrous to lightly puberulent, 5-15 mm long, 2-4 mm thick, thickest just below the inflorescence; involucre usually puberulent, 4-lobed, the lobes spreading, located near the base of the peduncle. Floral bracts peltate, the apex tailed on one side, the stalk 0.7-1.3 mm long. Flowers sessile; calyx shallowly 5-lobed, glabrous to lightly puberulent on the lobes, 1-1.4 mm long; corolla glabrous, pale yellow, 1.1-1.5 mm long, only slightly longer than the calyx. Legume usually straight, mostly terete, 50-90 mm long, 13-18 mm thick, glabrous to minutely puberulent, usually not strongly longitudinally striate, mostly red to maroon, indehiscent, stipe to 10 mm long, the apex narrowing to a spinelike beak 20-50 mm long. Flowering January-July.

Distribution. Wet to relatively dry, mostly disturbed habitats at lower elevations from southern Mexico to Costa Rica.

Representative specimens. BELIZE . Mile 42.5 on Northern Hwy., N of Maskall River , Dwyer11023 ( F ) .

COSTA RICA . Guanacaste : NW of Paloverde , Barbudal Hills , Garwood et al. 570 ( F ) . EL SALVADOR . Banks of Rio Acelhuate , SE part of San Salvador , 690 m , Carlson55 ( F ) . GUATEMALA . Alla Verapaz : near Pancajche , about 360 m , Standley70768 ( F ) . El Petén : 2 mi . E of Melchor , roadside, Croat24623 ( MO ) . Escuintla : near San Jose at sea level , Standley64241 ( F ) . Retalhuleu : 9 mi . N of Champerico , Harmon2298 ( MO ) . San Marcos : 2 mi . E of the border between Mexico ( Puente Talisman) on hwy. 2 , Janzen1045 ( F , MEX , MO ) . Suchitepéquez : S of Alotenango Farm, 7 mi . S of Tiquisate along rd. within 3 mi . of ocean , 30-50 m , Steyermark47739 ( F ) . HONDURAS . Vegas del Rio Agua , 3 km de Yoro , 1000 m , Molina R. 6807 ( F ) . MEXICO . Campeche : 30 km E of Campeche on hwy. 261 , Seigler et al.11603 ( ILL , MEX ) . Chiapas : CiudadCuauhtemoc on hwy. 190 , Janzen499 ( F , MEX ) . Guerrero : 1 mi . NW Cuajinicuilapa , Johnson740-79 ( WIS ) . Oaxaca : Capilla , N end of lake behind PresaAleman , W of Tierra Blanca , Janzen1937 ( F , MO , WIS ) . Quintana Roo : 52 mi . W of jet. of Mexico 307 & 186 on hwy. 186 , Seigler et al.11594 ( ILL , MEX ) . San Luis Potosi : Barrio de San Juan , Tamazunchale , Edwards600 ( F , MO ) . Tamaulipas : Tampico, Rujal rd. , Kenoyer791 ( F ) . Veracruz : Zacuapán , Purpas7748 ( GH , MO ) . Yucatan : Izarnal , Greenman379 ( GH ) . NICARAGUA . Laguna de Masaya , a 2 km de la entrada , Araquistain & Moreno593 ( MEX ) .

Acacia cornigera is probably the best known of the ant-acacias. It is easily separated from other ant-acacias by having peltate floral bracts in which the apex is tailed on one side. Also, the presence of canoe-shaped petiolar glands separates this taxon from all ant-acacias except A. mayana and A. sphaerocephala . The presence of obvious secondary venation in the leaflets and the relatively thick cylindrical inflorescences separate this taxon from A. sphaerocephala , while the smaller leaflets and the lack of longitudinal flanges on the stipular spines separate it from A. mayana .

Acacia cornigera is a highly variable species that occurs in a wide range of habitats. This morphological diversity has resulted in an extensive synonymy, which is discussed by Rudd (1964). It is the most common of the ant-acacias, and its geographic range is almost as extensive as that of A. collinsii . It is relatively common in riparian and swamp habitats and is the common ant-acacia in fallow fields, pastures, roadsides, and other disturbed sites from sea level to about 1200 m (Janzen, 1967a, b). Some of its present distribution has been caused by the dissemination of seeds by birds, people, and cattle into secondary growth vegetation. The present distribution of this species into the drier parts of the Yucatan peninsula is probably due to introduction by humans, since most collections are from around settlements, cattle corrals, and Indian ruins. It has also become naturalized on the Caribbean islands of Martinique , Guadeloupe , andCuba , as well as in extreme southern Florida.

Beltian body production in Acacia cornigera is typical of that found in ant-acacias that inhabit more open sites. Generally, these bodies are relatively small, 0.5-0.9 mm long, 0.4-0.6 mm wide, and are present on more than half of the leaflets. Since individuals of this species are usually occupied by obligate acacia-ants, the Beltian bodies are rarely seen because they are usually “harvested” as soon as the young leaves develop.

Of the more than 250 herbarium specimens of this species examined, none tested positive for cyanide production. Also, numerous living specimens have been tested, usually with negative results. Leaves of Acacia cornigera have been reported to contain a ß-glucosidase (Rehr et al., 1973). It appears that the hydrolytic enzyme necessary for the liberation of HCN is present, but the cyanogenic glycoside is absent. Living material from two populations of this species collected near Canas, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica, gave a very weak positive test for cyanide (Seigler & Ebinger, 1987). Dried material from these same individuals gave a negative test with and without emulsin.

Janzen (1974) reported seeing a single plant of A. cornigera x A. sphaerocephala on the dunes south of Veracruz, Mexico, and suggested that A. cornigera may occasionally hybridize with A. chiapensis . It is also possible that this species may occasionally hybridize with the non-ant-acacia A. pennatula (Ebinger & Seigler, 1992).

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Plazi

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Distribution: Native of Mexico, introduced in Lahore.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Perennial, Trees, Shrubs, Woody throughout, Nodules present, Stems erect or ascending, Stems greater than 2 m tall, Trunk or stems armed with thorns, spines or prickles, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs glabrous or sparsely glabrate, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Extrafloral nectary glands on petiole, Stipules inconspicuous, absent, or caducous, Stipules persistent, Stipules free, Stipules spinose or bristles, Leaves compound, Leaves even pinnate, Leaves bipinnate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets opposite, Leaflets 10-many, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Inflorescences spikes or spike-like, Inflorescence axillary, Bracts very small, absent or caducous, Flowers actinomorphic or somewhat irregular, Calyx 5-lobed, Calyx glabrous, Petals united, valvate, Petals white, Petals orange or yellow, Stamens numerous, more than 10, Stamens complet ely free, separate, Stamens long exserted, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Fruit a legume, Fruit unilocular, Fruit indehiscent, Fruit elongate, straight, Fruit oblong or ellipsoidal, Fruit coriaceous or becoming woody, Fruit exserted from calyx, Fruit beaked, Fruit glabrous or glabrate, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Seeds embedded in gummy or spongy pulp, Seed with elliptical line or depression, pleurogram, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Description

A shrub or fairly big tree armed with hollow spine tipped dirk brown thorns, 5 cm long, c. 1 cm wide at the base where the two thorns are united. Leaf 2-pinnate, 7.5-20 cm long, with 4-8 pairs of pinnae. Leaflets 15-25 pairs, c. 6-13 mm long. Spike c. 3.8 cm long.
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Type Information

Syntype for Acacia nicoyensis Schenck
Catalog Number: US 577752
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Tonduz
Year Collected: 1900
Locality: Buressailles a Nicoya, Costa Rica, Central America - Neotropics
  • Syntype: Schenck, H. 1913. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 360.
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Type material for Mimosa cornigera L.
Catalog Number: US 2396019
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): Collector unknown
Locality: E of Monserrat, Mexico, Central America - Neotropics
  • Type material: Linnaeus, C. 1753. Sp. Pl. 520.
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Isotype for Acacia hernandezii Saff.
Catalog Number: US 764686
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Palmer
Year Collected: 1905
Locality: Rascon., San Luis Potosí, Mexico, North America
  • Isotype: Safford, W. E. 1914. J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 4: 358.
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Isotype for Acacia hernandezii Saff.
Catalog Number: US 570186
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Palmer
Year Collected: 1905
Locality: Vicinity of Rascon., San Luis Potosí, Mexico, North America
  • Isotype: Safford, W. E. 1914. J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 4: 358.
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Type fragment for Acacia spadicigera Schltdl. & Cham.
Catalog Number: US 764667
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): C. J. W. Schiede
Locality: Veracruz., Veracruz, Mexico, North America
  • Type fragment: Schlechtendal, D. F. L. von & Chamisso, L. K. A. von. 1830. Linnaea. 5: 594.
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Type material for Mimosa cornigera L.
Catalog Number: US 2396019
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): Collector unknown
Locality: E of Monserrat, Mexico, Central America
  • Type material: Linnaeus, C. 1753. Sp. Pl. 520.
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Syntype for Acacia cubensis Schenck
Catalog Number: US 764633
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): C. Wright
Year Collected: 1863
Locality: Greater Antilles, Cuba, West Indies
  • Syntype: Schenck, H. 1913. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 360.
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Holotype for Acacia hernandezii Saff.
Catalog Number: US 692170
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Palmer
Year Collected: 1905
Locality: Rascon., San Luis Potosi, Mexico, North America
  • Holotype: Safford, W. E. 1914. J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 4: 358.
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Syntype for Acacia nicoyensis Schenck
Catalog Number: US 577752
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Tonduz
Year Collected: 1900
Locality: Buressailles a Nicoya, Costa Rica, Central America
  • Syntype: Schenck, H. 1913. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 360.
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Holotype for Acacia furcella Saff.
Catalog Number: US 692166
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. W. Nelson
Year Collected: 1894
Locality: Catemaco, Lake Catemaco., Veracruz, Mexico, North America
  • Holotype: Safford, W. E. 1914. J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 4: 359.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Vachellia cornigera

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vachellia cornigera

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Acacia cornigera

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Medicinal Use

This plant is used to delay the effects of snake venom.

A piece of bark as long as your forearm is stripped from the tree and chewed. All of the exudate is swallowed and the resulting fiber is placed on the area where the person was bitten.

A piece of root is then chewed as the affected person travels to medical aid.

This will not stop the effects of the venom, only slow down the effects long enough to obtain medical aid.

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Wikipedia

Vachellia cornigera

Vachellia cornigera, commonly known as Bullhorn Acacia (family Fabaceae), is a swollen-thorn tree native to Mexico and Central America. The common name of "bullhorn" refers to the enlarged, hollowed-out, swollen thorns (technically called stipular spines) that occur in pairs at the base of leaves, and resemble the horns of a steer. In Yucatán (one region where the bullhorn acacia thrives) it is called "subín", in Panamá the locals call them "cachito" (little horn). The tree grows to a height of 10 metres (33 ft).

Mutualistic Symbiosis[edit]

Acacia ants

Bullhorn Acacia is best known for its symbiotic relationship with a species of Pseudomyrmex ant (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) that lives in its hollowed-out thorns. Unlike other acacias, Bullhorn acacias are deficient in the bitter alkaloids usually located in the leaves that defend against ravaging insects and animals. Bullhorn acacia ants fulfil that role.

The ants act as a defense mechanism for the tree, protecting it against harmful insects, animals or humans that may come into contact with it. The ants live in the hollowed-out thorns for which the tree is named. In return, the tree supplies the ants with protein-lipid nodules called Beltian bodies from its leaflet tips and carbohydrate-rich nectar from glands on its leaf stalk. These Beltian bodies have no known function other than to provide food for the symbiotic ants. The aggressive ants release an alarm pheromone and rush out of their thorn "barracks" in great numbers.

According to Daniel Janzen, livestock can apparently smell the pheromone and avoid these acacias day and night.[2] Getting stung in the mouth and tongue is an effective deterrent to browsing on the tender foliage. In addition to protecting V. conigera from leaf-cutting ants and other unwanted herbivores, the ants also clear away invasive seedlings around the base of the tree that might overgrow it and block out vital sunlight.

Uses[edit]

Decorative uses[edit]

The thorns of V. cornigera, are often strung into unusual necklaces and belts. In El Salvador the horn-shaped thorns provide the legs for small ballerina seed dolls which are worn as decorative pins.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Acacia cornigera (ILDIS LegumeWeb)
  2. ^ Daniel Janzen, Costa Rican Natural History, 1983
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