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Acacia concinna - (Willd.) DC.

Common Name Shikakai, Soap-Pod
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rain forest, disturbed forest, open grassland, fields, creek sides, in open areas often a sprawling shrub; also recorded from limestone; at elevations from 50 - 1050 metres[451].
Range Asia - Central to Southern India
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Tender Well drained soil Full sun
Acacia concinna Shikakai, Soap-Pod


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Acacia concinna Shikakai, Soap-Pod
Jayesh Patil flickr.com

 

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Summary

Acacia concinna is a thorny spreading shrub or tree that can either be scandent or climb into other plants. Bark is light grey. Leaves are oblong 4-10mm long forming 7-11 pairs of branches each with 17-37 pairs of leaflets. Flower buds are purple or dark red. The flowers are cream or white. Pods up to 5cm long are flat and thick with 7 seeds. The seedpods are widely used as a soap substitute in India. Plants flower throughout the year. Fruit are on trees from February to March.The tree is food for the larvae of the butterfly Pantoporia hordonia.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Acacia concinna is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, beetles, butterflies, wasps.
It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry soil and can tolerate drought. The plant is not wind tolerant.

Synonyms

Acacia hooperiana Zipp. ex Miq. Acacia philippinarurn Benth. Acacia poilanei Gagnep. Acacia polyceph

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers;  Fruit;  Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Edible portion: Seeds, Leaves, Flowers, Vegetable. Leaves ? cooked [301]. The acid-flavoured young leaves can be used as a substitute for tamarinds (Tamarindus indica) in chutneys [301]. They are also added to soups to make them hot and sour [301]. They can be curried with salted fish and coconut milk. Flowers - cooked and eaten as a vegetable [301]. Acid fruit are used in Philippine cooking to give a sour flavour. They are roasted and eaten. Seeds are edible after roasting. The young shoots are used to make pickles or cooked as a vegetable.

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.



This plant is used medicinally[266]. There is lots of anecdotal information on its use including: the treating of dandruff and as a natural remedy for lice in both for humans and animals. The treatment of parasite-caused diseases such as malaria and visceral leishmaniasis. As a treatment for mouth and throat problems such as pharyngitis and mouth sores by chewing the pods. Tooth decay and plaque reduction from chewing the sticks. Alleviation of constipation indigestion, and other digestive problems from the fruit pods or a tea made from the leaves. A natural toxic cleanser, laxative, and diuretic. Recent research has shown that the tree has an ?antidermatophytic? ability that can fight off fungi responsible for skin diseases. It also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and even contains some phytochemicals that may have antioxidant abilities.

Other Uses

Dye;  Soap;  Tannin.

The bark is a source of tannins [439]. This plant is important for its tannins [266]. The pods are rich in saponins [439]. They are widely used in India as a detergent for washing silks and woollen goods, and are also very commonly used for washing the hair [46,439]. They are very effective in cleaning tarnished silver plates[46,439]. It is said that yarn washed with these pods prior to being dyed will produce much better results from the dyeing [439]. In order to prepare it the fruit pods, leaves and bark of the plant are dried, ground into a powder, then made into a paste.

Cultivation details

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[200].

Propagation

Acacia concinna can be grown from seeds. The seedlings can be transplanted. The seed of most, if not all, members of this genus has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

It is also known as: Aila, Atouqie, Banritha, Chikaka, Chikakai, Kochi, Lahiur, Ritha, Shikai, Shikakai, Shikaya, Sige, Sikakai, Soap-pod tree, Som poi, Song bai.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Found in: Asia, China, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, PNG, SE Asia, Thailand, Vietnam.

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.

Conservation Status

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

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