From various acacias comes gum arabic which is stated by some to be a highly nutritious article of food. During the whole time of the gum harvest in Barbary, the Moors of the desert live almost entirely upon it. It is claimed that six ounces are sufficient for the support of a man during twenty-four hours. Gum arabic is also used as food by the Hottentots of southern Africa, and Sparmann states that, in the absence of other provisions, the Bushmen live on it for days together At Swan River, Australia, an acacia, called manna by the natives, produces a large quantity of gum resembling gum arabic, and this, says Drummond, forms an important article of native food. The experiment of Magendie, however, showed that dogs could not support life on gum, and Dr. Hammond believes that, so far from having any value as an alimentary substance, it is positively injurious.
Acacia abyssinica Hochst.
Abyssinia. Hildebrant mentions that gum is collected from this species.
Acacia arabica Willd. Babool-Bark. Gum Arabic Tree. Suntwood.
North and central Africa and Southwest Asia. It furnishes a gum arabic of superior quality. The bark, in times of scarcity, is ground and mixed with flour in India, and the gum, mixed with the seeds of sesame, is an article of food with the natives. The gum serves for nourishment, says Humboldt,9 to several African tribes in their passages through the dessert. In Barbary, the tree is called atteleh.
Acacia bidwilli Benth.
Australia. The roots of young trees are roasted for food after peeling.
Acacia catechu Willd. Catechu. Khair. Wadalee-Gum Tree.
East Indies. Furnishes catechu, which is chiefly used for chewing in India as an ingredient of the packet of betel leaf.
Acacia concinna DC. Soap-Pod.
Tropical Asia. The leaves are acid and are used in cookery by the natives of India as a substitute for tamarinds. It is the fei-tsau-tau of the Chinese. The beans are about one-half to three-fourths inch in diameter and are edible after roasting.
Acacia decora Reichb.
Australia. The gum is gathered and eaten by Queensland natives.
Acacia decurrens Willd. Black Wattle. Green Wattle. Silver Wattle.
Australia. It yields a gum not dissimilar to gum arabic.
Acacia ehrenbergiana Hayn.
Desert regions of Libya, Nubia, Dongola. It yields a gum arabic.
Acacia farnesiana Willd. Cassie-Oil Plant. Huisache. Opopanax. Popinac. Sponge Tree. West Indian Blackthorn.
Tropics. This species is cultivated all over India and is indigenous in America, from New Orleans, Texas and Mexico, to Buenos Aires and Chile, and is sometimes cultivated. It exudes a gum which is collected in Sind. The flowers distil a delicious perfume.
Acacia ferruginea DC.
India. The bark steeped in "jaggery water"—fresh, sweet sap from any of several palms — is distilled as an intoxicating liquor. It is very astringent.
Acacia flexicaulis Benth.
Texas. The thick, woody pods contain round seeds the size of peas which, when boiled, are palatable and nutritious.
Acacia glaucophylla Steud.
Tropical Africa. This species furnishes gum arabic.
Acacia gummifera Willd. Barbary-Gum. Morocco-Gum.
North Africa. It yields gum arabic in northern Africa.
Acacia homalophylla A. Cunn. Myall-Wood. Violet-Wood.
This species yields gum in Australia.
Acacia horrida Willd. Cape-Gum Tree. Dornboom.
South Africa. This is the dornboom plant which exudes a good kind of gum.
Acacia leucophloea Willd. Kuteera-Gum.
Southern. India. The bark is largely used in the preparation of spirit from sugar and palm-juice, and it is also used in times of scarcity, ground and mixed with flour. The pods are used as a vegetable, and the seeds are ground and mixed with flour.
Acacia longifolia Willd. Sydney Golden Wattle.
Australia. The Tasmanians roast the pods and eat the starchy seeds.
Acacia pallida F. Muell.
Australia. The roots of the young trees are roasted and eaten.
Acacia penninervis Sieber. Blackwood. Mountain Hickory.
Australia. This species yields gum gonate, or gonatic, in Senegal.
Acacia Senegal Willd. Gum Arabic Tree.
Old World tropics. The tree forms vast forests in Senegambia. It is called nebul by the natives and furnishes gum arabic.
Acacia seyal Delile. Gum Arabic Tree. Thirsty Thorn. Whistling-Tree
North Africa, Upper Egypt and Senegambia. It furnishes the best gum arabic. It is called glute by the Arabs of the upper Nile and whistling tree by the natives of Sudan. The holes left by the departure of a gall insect are rendered musical by the wind.
Acacia stenocarpa Hochst. Gum Arabic Tree.
Southern Nubia and Abyssinia. The gum of this tree is extensively collected in the region between the Blue Nile and the upper Atbara. It is called taleh, talha or kakul.
Acacia suaveolens Willd.
Australia. The aromatic leaves are used in infusions as teas.
Acacia tortilis Hayn.
Arabia, Nubia and the desert of Libya and Dongola. It furnishes the best of gum arabic.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.