tragacanth

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tragacanth

(trăg`əkănth) or

gum tragacanth,

gummy exudation from the leguminous shrub Astragalus gummifer and related 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 plants of SE Europe and W Asia. It is obtained through incisions in the stem of the plant. The gum is produced chiefly in Iran. Tragacanth is almost insoluble in water but swells in it to form a stiff gel. It is used as an emulsifying agent, as a component of pills, hand lotions, and medicinal lubricating jellies, as a demulcent, and as a sizing material. A gum (sometimes called Indian tragacanth) from a plant of the sterculiasterculia
, common name for some members of the Sterculiaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and trees of tropical and subtropical regions. The most important members of the family are the cacao, source of cocoa and chocolate, and the cola, the caffeine-rich seeds of which are used
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 family is sold as a cheaper substitute. See gumgum,
term commonly applied to any of a wide variety of colloidal substances somewhat similar in appearance and general characteristics, exuded by or extracted from plants.
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tragacanth

[′traj·ə‚kanth]
(materials)
The gummy exudate produced by certain Asiatic species of Astragalus ; consists of a soluble portion containing uronic acid and arabinose, and an insoluble portion that absorbs water and swells to make a stiff opalescent mucilage.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.