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Faidherbia albida - (Delile) A.Chev.

Common Name White Acacia. White-thorn. Apple ring acacia
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Banks of seasonal and perennial rivers and streams on sandy alluvial soils or on flat land where Vertisols predominate[303 ].
Range Africa, from South Africa north through eastern Africa to Sudan, Eritrea and on to Israel.
Edibility Rating    (1 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
Faidherbia albida White Acacia. White-thorn. Apple ring acacia

Faidherbia albida White Acacia. White-thorn. Apple ring acacia
wikimedia.org Roger Culos


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Faidherbia albida is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 35 m (114ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Butterflies, Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Acacia albida Delile Acacia gyrocarpa Hochst. ex A.Rich. Acacia leucophylla Link. Acacia mossambecensis Bolle. Acacia sassharata Benth.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed
Edible Uses: Gum

The seeds are eaten by local people during the dry season[303 , 418 ]. They are eaten in times of shortage[774 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Astringent  Febrifuge  Malaria

The use of the bark and roots by local peoples is widespread[303 ]. They are astringent and febrifuge[774 ]. They are used, either externally or internally, as a treatment for respiratory infections, digestive disorders, haemorrhages, malaria and other fevers etc[303 , 774 ]. The bark is used to clean the teeth, as it is believed to contain fluorine. An extract is used to treat toothache[303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Containers  Fodder  Fuel  Furniture  Gum  Mulch  Potash  Soap making  Soil conditioner  Soil stabilization  Tannin  Teeth  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: White acacia is a very good soil improver and stabilizer[303 ]. Its spreading root system offers excellent protection to the soil along the banks of watercourses. Bacteria on its roots fix atmospheric nitrogen, whilst it also sheds its leaves in the rainy season; therefore boosting the nutrient status of the soil for the new season?s crops[303 ]. The fact that the tree is leafless during the rainy season minimizes competition for sunlight with crops and protects them from birds until harvest time[303 ]. It is commonly intercropped with annual crops, especially pearl millet and groundnuts[299 ]. Yields of millet are much higher under a canopy of this tree; increases of 50 - 150% having been recorded. Results for sorghum, cotton, groundnut and maize are variable and either positive or negative, depending on the study. The effect may depend on soil fertility - when this is high, the tree competes with the crops[299 ]. The tree is maintained and protected on farms in order to shade coffee and to provide shade during the dry season[303 ]. The plant has been recommended for integration with maize as an alternative to Leucaena leucocephala[303 ]. Other Uses A gum arabic, called 'Gomme de Senegal', is obtained from the stems[46 ]. The bark is used to clean the teeth, as it is believed to contain fluorine[303 ]. The bark contains 20 - 28%f tannins[46 , 774 ]. The wood is burnt and used as a source of potash when making soap[299 , 774 ]. The heartwood is pale and creamy; the brown sapwood slightly paler than the heartwood. The wood is hard, of medium weight. It is susceptible to staining fungi and pinhole borer when green; therefore, it is left to soak for several months to remove sap and minimize attack by fungi, borers and termites. Even after the most careful seasoning, the boards tend to spring and twist one or two hours after they are sawn. The wood works fairly easily by hand, but a smooth finish is difficult to obtain. Care must be taken when nailing, bolting and joining. It is used to make utensils, handicrafts, canoes, furniture, boxes, drums and oil presses[299 , 303 ]. The wood is an excellent fuel[299 ]. The calorific value is estimated at 19.741 kJ/kg of dry wood[303 ]. It is used to make a high quality charcoal[299 ]. Charcoal yields are as low as 17%[303 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Coppice  Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Fodder: Bank  Fodder: Pod  Management: Standard  Other Systems: Evergreen ag  Other Systems: FMNR  Other Systems: Parkland  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Balanced carb

White acacia succeeds from the tropical to warm temperate zones, thriving in climates that are characterized by long summers, or a dry season with long days[303 ]. It grows best in an altitude range of about 270 - 2,700 metres[303 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 30°c[418 ]. It is intolerant of frost[325 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 400 - 1,000mm, but tolerates 250 - 1,200mm[418 ]. It has succeeded in areas with 1,800mm and, provided there is access to underground water, it can grow independent of rainfall, such as in the Namib Desert[325 ]. Requires a sunny position, growing best in a coarse-textured, well-drained alluvial soil[303 ]. It tolerates seasonal waterlogging and saline conditions, but cannot withstand heavy clayey soils[303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 5 - 7.5[418 ]. The tree has roots that can penetrate 40 metres into the soil to find groundwater and thus help it to withstand drought, even for periods of several years[418 , 774 ]. Observed production of seed by isolated trees is an indication that there is no strict self-incompatibility[303 ]. The plant has an 'inverted phenology' - it is deciduous during the wet season and produces its leaves in the dry season[303 ]. Initial top growth can be rather slow as the plant focuses on developing the tap root. One year old plants can be up to 80cm tall and up to 450cm tall by the time they are 5 years old[774 ]. On very good sites this can be increased, with trees up to 10.5 metres tall at the age of 7 years[774 ]. Plants commence flowering in about their seventh year and subsequent flowerings occur 1 - 2 months after the start of the dry season, lasting for up to 5 months[303 ]. The tree responds well to coppicing and regrowth is usually quite vigorous[303 , 774 ]. For bees, the tree has the advantage of producing its flowers at the end of the rains while most of the Sahelian species flower just before or during the rains. It therefore becomes their main source of pollen and nectar at this time[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[299 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Plants that contribute to nitrogen fixation include the legume family – Fabaceae.
  • 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: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Other Systems: Evergreen ag  A subset of agroforestry providing green cover on cropland.
  • Other Systems: FMNR  Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration.
  • Other Systems: Parkland  Africa - Trees scattered throughout cropland. An Irregular intercropping system.
  • 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.
  • Staple Crop: Balanced carb  (0-15 percent protein, 0-15 percent oil, with at least one over 5 percent). The carbohydrates are from either starch or sugar. Annuals include maize, wheat, rice, and potato. Perennials include chestnuts, carob, perennial fruits, nuts, cereals, pseudocereals, woody pods, and acorns.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - germinates best, especially after storage, if it is pre-soaked in warm water for 24 hours prior to sowing. Germination rates of 40 - 60% can be expected within 6 - 30 days[303 ]. Mechanical scarification prior to sowing is reported to yield 95% germination within 8 days[303 ]. The seed is best sown in nursery beds or containers since direct seeding often leads to the high failure rate[303 ]. Seedlings quickly develop a deep taproot and so need to be planted out as quickly as possible - they are normally ready for planting out when 3 - 4 months old[325 , 774 ]. The seed should be removed from the pods immediately it is ripe, since it is usually invaded by larvae of Bruchid beetles[303 ]. When kept free of insects in simple closed containers, the seed can be stored successfully for several years[303 ]. Promising new vegetative propagation methods include cuttings, grafting and multiplication by root fragments[303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Afrar, Ana tree, Anaboom, Apple ring acacia, Apple-ring thorn-tree, Betam-pale, Bioepi, Biongomo, Borassam-o, Borassanhe, Bubirique, Buladanelhe, Bule, Burle-danedjo, Busseu-uliba, Butchampele, Cad, Camude, Camudo, Djue, Ferida-branco, Gawo, Gozanga, Herero, Icuti, Karau, M'suango, Marrone, Msangumsangu, Mucesi, Munga-nunsyi, Munga, Musanga, Musenga, Mutsangu, Nsangu, Omue, Pau-ferida, Po-de-ferida-branco, Sipana-brabu, Sipina, Soango, Umpumbu, Ussimpulo, Winter thorn,

Africa, Algeria, Angola, Asia, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central Africa, Chad, Congo DR, C?te d'Ivoire, Cyprus, East Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guin?e, Guinea-Bissau, India, Iran, Israel, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, North Africa, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Africa, South America, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, West Africa, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe,

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

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


(Delile) A.Chev.

Botanical References

Links / References

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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