Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd.

Family: Mimosaceae


Synonym (s): Mimosa farnesiana L., Vauchellia farnesiana (L.) Wight & Arn.





Vernacular name (s): Belatibabla, Guiya Babla (Bengali); Cassie Flower, Farnesiana, Sponge Tree, Strinking Acacia, Sweet Acacia (English); Waiya (Marma); Hoiaki (Khumi); Eye-ulapaing, Hada Naksaphul, Kada Naksha Phul, Nakshaphul (Chakma); Awaia (Tripura) and Gosuktingbra (Rakhain).

Botanical description:

 A muchbranched thorny shrub or small deciduous tree, up to 4 m high, bark dark brown, smooth or fissured in old trees, branchlets zigzag, lenticellate with stipular straight spines, up to 3 cm long. Leaves bipinnately compound, rachis about 2.5-7.5 cm long, pubescent, with a minute gland on the petiole, pinnae 2-8 pairs, often up to 3 cm long with a cup-shaped gland below the lowest and often at the base of the uppermost pair of pinnae, often pinnae terminated by minute bristles, leaflets 10-20 pairs, 2-7 x 0.8-1.8 mm, sessile, oblong, opposite, glabrous, base truncate, asymmetrically acute and mucronate at the apex, midrib excentric. Flowers bright yellow, very sweet-scented in axillary pedunculate, globose heads, peduncles 3.5-4.0 cm long, 3-5 together in fascicle. Fruit a pod, 3.6-7.8 x 1-2 cm, cylinderic-oblong, straight or slightly curved, subterete and turgid, dark brown to blackish when inconspicuous, indehiscent. Seeds 12-20 per pod, embedded inpulp in two rows, 7-8 x 5.5 mm, oblong-ellipsoid, smooth, black.

Flowering and fruiting: November to March, but in some areas throughout the year.

Ecological adaptation: It grows in the deciduous forests or scrubs or subtropical forests on black or gravelly or sandy soils at low altitudes, ascending to 1500 m.

Distribution: Native of tropical South America, now Pan Tropical, distributed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar and Andaman Islands. In Bangladesh, it is naturalized and found frequently along railway tracks, in village thickets and outskirts or in waste fallow lands in most of the districts. In the hill districts, the species is found under cultivation near tribal houses.

Propagation and management: Propagation is done by seeds.

Chemical constitutuents: Isorhamnetin-3, 7-glucorhamnoside, gallic acid, ellagic acie, m-digallic acid, methyl gallate, kaempferol, aromadendrin, naringenin, kaempferol-7-diglucosie, naringenin-7-glucoside and a new glycoside, probably naringenin-7-diglucoside acylate with gallic acid have been isolated from flowers. Flowers also contain d-pinitol a pigment, isorhamnetin-3, 7-glucorhamnoside. Pods yield a new acylglucoside charcaterised as naringenin-7-O-β-D-(6″-O-galloyl) glucopyranoside (purin-O-6″-gallate); rutin and apigenin-6, 8-bis-C-glucopyranoside (0.4%). A novel amino acid N-acetyl-L-djenkolic acid has been isolated from seeds. Leaves contain tannins, alkaloids; also rutin and apigenin-6, 8-bis-C-glucide; cyanogens; linamarin, lotaustralin and an unidentified one.

Medicinal uses: The medicinal use of the species collected through FGD and one to one discussions are shown below.

Disease name Parts use Preparation process User group

Fever and ringworm Flower, leaf and root Bath with leaf, flower and root boiled water twice a day for a week.

Khumi and Marma The plant is also used in the treatment of rabies, spermatorrhoea, sterility, strangury ureterolithiasis and vertigo (Uddin, 2006); bronchitis, caries of teeth, inflammation, leucoderma, stomatitis and ulcers (Chakrabarty and Gangopadhyay, 1996); headache (Rahman et al., 2007); bronchitis, caries of teeth, erysipelas, gonorrhea, inflammation, leucorrhoea, leucoderma, stomatitis and wounds (Yusuf et al., 2009) and leucorrhoea (Caius, 1989).

Other uses: Flowers are the source of the famous perfume ‘Cassie’. It exudes considerable quantity of white gum Arabic. The pods are used for tanning. The wood is used for fuel and the leaves and pods are browsed by livestock in many countries. A black dye for making ink can be obtained from the pods. In Bangladesh, the species is planted on embankment in some coastal areas and as a hedge plant particularly in Chittagong. Sometimes flowers are used by the Hindu community in their  religious ceremony in India. Local people of Bandarban use flower of this species for ritual purpose. Gum and tannin can be obtained from the bark. Lac insects are also grown in the tree.

Conservation status in the study area: Rarely found in the forest but common around the homesteads, schools and temple premises.

Market potential/Domestication potential/Plantation potential/any pharmaceutical use: Already occurs as a garden plant in many parts of the country. The species is suitable for domestication in the coastal areas.


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