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Prosopis cineraria - (L.) Druce

Common Name Jandi, Ghaf
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A characteristic tree of secondary dry deciduous forest, desert thorn forest, ravine thorn forest, Zizyphus scrub, and desert dune scrub[303 ].
Range W. Asia - Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran to India and Pakistan.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Prosopis cineraria Jandi, Ghaf

Prosopis cineraria Jandi, Ghaf
Wikimedia.org - LRBurdak


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Prosopis cineraria is one of the most drought-tolerant tree species and thrives in hot, arid regions with an annual rainfall of less than 500 mm. it is is the national tree of the United Arab Emirates, where it is known as Ghaf. Through the Give a Ghaf campaign its citizens are urged to plant it in their gardens to combat desertification and to preserve their country's heritage. A large and well-known example of the species is the Tree of Life in Bahrain – approximately 400 years old and growing in a desert devoid of any obvious sources of water. Prosopis cineraria, called Shami, is highly revered among Hindus and worshipped as part of Dasahra festival.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Prosopis cineraria is an evergreen Tree growing to 6.5 m (21ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Mimosa cineraria L. Prosopis spicigera L.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Inner bark  Seedpod
Edible Uses: Gum

The pods are used as vegetable in the dried and green form[303 ]. Rich in protein[418 ]. During India's Rajputana famine (1868 - 69), many lives were spared by using the sweetish bark as a food[303. It was ground into flour and made into cakes[303 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anthelmintic  Antiasthmatic  Antidiarrhoeal  Antihaemorrhoidal  Antirheumatic  Astringent  Demulcent  Dysentery  
Leprosy  Pectoral  Refrigerant  Skin  Stings  Tonic

The plant is reported to be astringent, demulcent, and pectoral[303 ]. It is a folk remedy for various ailments[303 ]. The flowers are mixed with sugar and used to prevent miscarriage[303. The ashes are rubbed over the skin to remove hair[303 ]. The bark is considered to be anthelmintic, refrigerant, and tonic[303 ]. It is used for treating asthma, bronchitis, dysentery, leucoderma, leprosy, rheumatism, muscle tremors, piles, and wandering of the mind[303 ]. Smoke from the leaves is suggested for eye troubles[303 ]. The pod is said to be astringent[303 ]. Although recommended for scorpion sting and snakebite, the plant has not proved to be effective[303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Fodder  Fuel  Gum  Potash  Shelterbelt  Soil stabilization  Tannin  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: Owing to the deep root system, a mono-layered canopy and the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, the tree is compatible with agri-horticultural crops. It boosts the growth and productivity of other plants growing nearby. In addition, it does not compete for moisture with crop plants, which can, therefore, be grown close to its trunk[303 , 414 ]. The trees are planted to stabilize and reforest sand dunes[303 , 310 , 414 ]. They can withstand periodic burial by the sand[414 ]. It increases fertility under its canopy[303 ]. Other Uses The tree yields a pale to amber coloured gum with properties similar to the gum acacias (Acacia senegal)[303 ]. The bark and leaf galls are used for tanning[303 ]. Containing 31% soluble potassium salts, the wood ash may serve as a potash source[269 ]. The wood is used for making boat frames, houses, posts, and tool handles; the poor form of unimproved trees limits its use as timber[303 ]. In the Punjab, its rather scanty, purplish brown heartwood is preferred to other kinds for firewood[491 ]. It is an excellent fuel, also giving high-quality charcoal (5,000 kcal/kg)[303 ]. Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Low Water Use. Windbreak. Fodder: Pod, Bank.

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Carbon Farming  Coppice  Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Fodder: Bank  Fodder: Pod  Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

A plant of arid and semi arid, lowland tropical and subtropical areas, where it is found at elevations from sea level to 600 metres[303 , 310 , 418 ]. It is found in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 200 - 800 mm[303 ]. One estimation has said that the plant can tolerate up to 2,000mm of rain[269 ]. In some areas of its natural distribution, the climate is characterised by extremes of temperature. The summers are very hot and winters can be severe with frost[303 ]. The maximum shade temperature varies from about 40 - 46°c, the absolute minimum temperature from 9 - 16°c[303 ]. Although young plants are sensitive to frost[269 ], mature plants can tolerate frosts down to -6°c[310 ]. In its natural range, it grows on coarse sandy soils[303 ]. It can however grow on a variety of soils. Good growth is obtained on deep sandy loam soil with adequate availability of moisture in lower layers. Shallow dry soils with hard layer beneath, which restricts root penetration, results in poor growth. In arid areas, the growth is better in dune lows than in sandy plains, which in turn offer better site than the dune tops. Good drainage is very essential and poorly drained soils are not suitable[303 ]. It does not survive long on pure sandy soils. On saline soils also it quickly dies out, but it can grow on slightly alkaline soils[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 - 8.5, tolerating 5.5 - 9.8[269 , 418 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[418 ]. Tolerant of hot, dry winds[418 ]. The trees start flowering and fruiting at an early age[303 ]. This species has a life expectancy of 200 years or more[375 ]. Trees can be coppiced[303 ]. The plant produces a taproot that is more than 3 metres long[303 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[755 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation include the legume family – Fabaceae.
  • Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Linear plantings of trees and shrubs designed to enhance crop production, protect people and livestock and benefit soil and water conservation.
  • Fodder: Bank  Fodder banks are plantings of high-quality fodder species. Their goal is to maintain healthy productive animals. They can be utilized all year, but are designed to bridge the forage scarcity of annual dry seasons. Fodder bank plants are usually trees or shrubs, and often legumes. The relatively deep roots of these woody perennials allow them to reach soil nutrients and moisture not available to grasses and herbaceous plants.
  • Fodder: Pod  Fodder plants with pods.
  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



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Plant Propagation

Seed - germinates best if the hard seed coat is softened first to allow the ingress of water. This can be done by adding a small amount of almost boiling water to the seed (which should cool down quickly enough so that it does not cook the seed!). Then soak the seed for 12 - 24 hours prior to sowing. Alternatively, carefully abrade an area of the seed coat, being careful not to damage the embryo. The seeds retain their viability for at least one year[303 ]. The seed retains its viability for decades[269 ]. The tree reproduces freely by root suckers[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Banni, Chaunkra, Hamra, Jambi, Jambu, Jammi chettu, Jand, Jhand, Jot, Kandi, Khaka, Khanjra, Khar, Khejdi, Khejra, Khejri, Khijado, Parampu, Perumbai, Perumbay, Sami, Sangri, Saundar, Saunder, Semru, Shami, Shami, Sheh, Shemri, Shum, Summi, Tambu, Ghaf.

Afghanistan, Arabia, Asia, India*, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, UAE

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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Prosopis glandulosaHoneypod mesquite. Glandular mesquiteTree7.0 8-11 FLMHNM324
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Prosopis pallidaAlgarobaTree12.0 10-12 FLMHNDM222
Prosopis tamarugoTamarugoTree12.0 10-12 FLMHNDM103

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(L.) Druce

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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