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Acacia senegal

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds have physical dormancy, which has to be overcome before they will germinate. The testa can be chipped with a scalpel or softened with sulphuric acid so that the seeds can imbibe water.

Acacia senegal (Image: M. Meso, Kenya Forestry Research Institute)

Seed Storage

This species has Orthodox seeds - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

Germination Requirements

The seeds of this species are Physically Dormant.

Chip seeds with a scalpel before placing on agar, germination paper or sand. Dormancy can also be broken by immersing seeds in sulphuric acid for 14 minutes before sowing. Germinate at 20 or 25ºC, or use an alternating temperature regime of 30/20ºC (with an 8/16hr photoperiod).

Seed Morphology

See an image of this species at PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa).



Accepted name: Acacia senegal (L.) Willd.

Synonyms: Mimosa senegal L., Senegalia senegal (L.) Britton

Common name: gum arabic, Cape gum, Egyptian thorn, Senegal gum

References and Links

  • Baskin, C.C. and Baskin J.M. (1998). Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic Press, USA.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • International Seed Testing Association (2010). International Rules for Seed Testing: edition 2010. ISTA, Bassersdorf, Switzerland.


  • AFPD  (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Acacia senegal.
  • Forest & Landscape Denmark - University of Copenhagen: seed leaflet on Acacia senegal.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Acacia senegal.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Acacia senegal.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden: Acacia senegal.