acacia

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acacia

(əkā`shə), any plant of the large leguminous genus Acacia, often thorny shrubs and trees of the family Leguminosae (pulsepulse,
in botany, common name for members of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae), a large plant family, called also the pea, or legume, family. Numbering about 650 genera and 17,000 species, the family is third largest, after the asters and the orchids.
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 family). Chiefly of the tropics and subtropics, they are cultivated for decorative and economic purposes. Acacias are characteristic of savanna vegetation and are especially numerous in the South African bushveld. The foliage often appears feathery because of the many small leaflets, but in some species leaflike flattened stems contain chlorophyll and take the place of leaves. Various Old World species (especially A. arabica and A. senegal ) yield gum arabic; other species, chiefly A. catechu, yield the dye catechucatechu
or cutch,
extract from the heartwood of Acacia catechu, a leguminous tree of the pulse family, native to India and Myanmar. Catechu is a fast brown dye used for various shades of brown and olive, including the familiar khaki, and also in tanning.
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. Blackwood (A. melanoxylon) is valued in Australia for its hardwood timber. Other members of the genus are valuable for laclac,
resinous exudation from the bodies of females of a species of scale insect (Tachardia lacca), from which shellac is prepared. India is the chief source of shellac, although some is obtained from other areas in Southeast Asia.
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, for perfume and essential oils, and for tannins; some are used as ornamentals. The Australian acacias are commonly called wattles—their pliable branches were woven into the structure of the early wattle houses and fences—and Wattle Day celebrates the national flower at blossoming time. Many wattles are cultivated elsewhere, particularly in California, as ornamentals for their characteristic spherical, dense flowers. The Central American bullhorn acacias (e.g., A. sphaerocephala) have large hollow thorns inhabited by ants that are said to feed upon a sweet secretion of the plant and in turn guard it against leaf-eating insects. The most common acacia indigenous to the United States is the cat's-claw (A. gregii) of the arid Southwest. The biblical shittim woodshittim wood,
in the Bible, wood of the shittah tree, probably an acacia, from which the Ark of the Covenant and furniture of the Tabernacle were made. The Revised Version of the Bible calls it acacia wood. It seems to have been held in high esteem.
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 is thought to have come from an acacia. Various species of locust are sometimes called acacia, and acacias may be called mimosa; all are of the same family. Acacia is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.
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acacia

acacia

Over 1300 species! 960 are in Australia, the rest all over the worldespecially warm and tropical areas. This is the famous "Africa tree" we always see in pictures with a giraffe eating from it. There are even a dozen species in America and Europe. The American Black Locust tree is mistaken for Acacia, and thus called the "False Acacia". The African varieties tend to be thorny (called "thorn trees") , the Australian ones have no thorns. Acacias generally have fuzzy yellow flowers and reddish brown wood. Very fire resistant. Seed pods are three inches long with 5-6 brownish black edible seeds. Young leaves, flowers and pods are edible raw or cooked. Seeds are often used for food, either raw or toasted with salt, or ground into powder and added to sauces. Young shoots are added to salads, soups, curries, omelettes and stir-fries. Acacia is a common ingredient in soft drinks. Bark is used to make a gum called Gum Arabic, a thickening agent in deserts. Used to treat sore throat, relieving clogged bronchial passages, and is often mixed with water to make a paste to soothe and heal external injuries. High tannin levels make it very astringent and a good preservative. Bark, root and resin used to make incense and also ink dye. Fruit is used to make popular alcoholic beverage. Caution: Nineteen different species of American Acacia contain potentially toxic cyanogenic glycosides. Some of these are : Acacia erioloba, cunninghamii, obtusifolia, sieberiana, sieberiana.

Acacia

 

genus of mostly woody plants of the family Mimosaceae. About 750 tropical and subtropical species are found in both hemispheres but mostly (over 50 percent) in Australia, where it is the national emblem, and in Africa.

Acacia leaves are bipinnate, generally with numerous tiny leaves. In many species, chiefly Australian, the leaf blade fails to develop completely or partly, in which case the expanded petiole (the so-called phyllode) fulfills the function of photosynthesis. Other acacias are characterized by the presence of stipules changed into spines. In the American species A. sphaerocephala and A. costaricensis, in the African species A. drepanolobium, and in some others, the spines are very large and infested with ants. Acacia usually has small yellow or white flowers noticeable chiefly because of the numerous stamens protruding far from the corolla; these flowers are in dense clusters or spiciform inflorescences which are arranged, in turn, in a compound, mostly paniculate inflorescence. The fruit is a bicuspid or indehiscent pod. Acacia with an umbellate crown is a characteristic landscape element of African savannas. Many species are of considerable economic importance. Some are rapidly growing trees, and others produce valuable wood—for example, the Australian A. melanoxylon. The finest gum arabic comes from, A. Senegal and other species. The tanning agent catechu is extracted from the wood of A. catechu. A. dealbata is cultivated in the south as an ornamental plant. Cut flowering branches (so-called mimosa) are brought into cities of the temperate zone from January to March. A tree of the genus Albizzia is known as the silk acacia. “White” or “false” acacia is the name of a tree of the genus Robinia. Yellow acacia (pea tree) is a shrub of the genus Caragana.

REFERENCES

Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
Willis, J. C. A Dictionary of the Flowering Plants and Ferns, 7th ed. Cambridge, 1966.
Uphof, J. C. T. Dictionary of Economic Plants, 2nd ed. Würzburg, 1968.

M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV

gum arabic, acacia, gum acacia

A white, powdery, water-soluble gum, extracted from certain acacia trees; used in the manufacture of adhesives and transparent paints.

acacia

traditional symbol of friendship. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 172]

acacia

1. any shrub or tree of the tropical and subtropical leguminous genus Acacia, having compound or reduced leaves and small yellow or white flowers in dense inflorescences
2. false acacia another name for locust
3. gum acacia another name for gum arabic

Acacia

(Acacia Technologies, Lisle, IL) A former business unit of Computer Associates (CA) whose product line was sold to SSA Global Technologies, Inc. in 2002. Its primary products, PRMS, KBM and Warehouse BOSS continue to be offered as part of SSA's enterprise platform.

Acacia was created primarily from CA's acquisition of Pansophic Systems in 1991, and in 1999, CA merged Acacia with the MK Group to become the interBiz Supply Chain Group within the interBiz Solution division of the company. SSA acquired the supply chain management, financial management and human resource management product lines of interBiz, which made up the eBusiness applications division of CA. For more information, visit www.ssaglobal.com. See PRMS.