|Botanical Name||Vachellia nilotica|
|Other Names||:||Gum Arabic Tree, Egyptian Thorn, Sant Tree, Al-Sant, Prickly Acacia, Acacia Nilotica|
|Hindi Names||:||Babool, Babul|
Acacia nilotica (Hindi name - Babool) is a tree 5m – 20 m high preferring sandy or sterile regions, with the climate dry during the greater part of the year. The crown is somewhat flattened or rounded, with a moderate density. The branches have a tendency to droop downwards if the crown is roundish.
Acacia nilotica is a slow - growing species but is moderately long-lived. The species can withstand extremely dry environments and can also endure floods. Acacia nilotica makes a good protective hedge because of its thorns. In part of its range smallstock consume the pods and leaves, but elsewhere it is also very popular with cattle. Pods are used as a supplement to poultry rations in India. In India branches are commonly lopped for fodder. In the wild, the pods-especially when dried-and leaves are consumed by small animals like sheep, but cattle also seem to find them very tasty. The pods are toxic to goats. They are best fed dry as a supplement, not as a green fodder.
The wood is strong, durable, hard, very shock resistant, and is used for construction, mine props, tool handles and carts. It has a high calorific value and makes excellent fuelwood and quality charcoal.
The bark contains a 12 percent to 20 percent concentration of tannin, which is used in tanning all kinds of leather. The ink made from acacia nilotica has been used for centuries to dye calico cloth.
Acacia nilotica has a wealth of medicinal uses. It is used for stomach upset and pain, the bark is chewed to protect against scurvy, an infusion is taken for dysentery and diarrhoea. The species has also been used in veterinary medicine, for example as a molluscicide to reduce liver-flukes in cattle. The pods are desirable as fodder for cattle, and the leaves, young shoots and young pods are thought to aid milk production.