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Acacia nilotica (acacia)

The wood of Acacia nilotica was used by ancient Egyptians to make statues and furniture.
Acacia nilotica

Spiny branch and yellow inflorescences of Acacia nilotica (Photo: Michelle Greve)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Acacia nilotica (L.) Delile

Common name: 

acacia, Egyptian mimosa, Egyptian thorn, red thorn. Babool, babul (in India). Burkill gives at least 129 different names for this plant as a whole or for the fruit and seeds.

Conservation status: 

Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria.


This species can withstand extremely dry environments and can also endure floods. It thrives under irrigation.

Key Uses: 

Medicinal, timber, fuelwood, fodder.

Known hazards: 

The leaves and fruits can be poisonous if eaten in large quantities.


Leguminosae/Fabaceae - Mimosoideae
Genus: Acacia

About this species

Acacia nilotica has been used since early Egyptian dynasties. Disocorides (the Greek philosopher, physician and ‘father of botany’ c.40 to 90 A.D.) described in his Materia Medica a preparation extracted from the leaves and fruit pods. He called this ‘akakia’, and it is from this word that the modern name is derived. The origin of the name Acacia means 'spiny' which is a typical feature of the species.


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