SCIENTIFIC NAME: ACACIA NILOTICA
COMMON NAMES: BABUL / KIKAR
Acacia Nilotica is an evergreen, medium sized tree approximately 14m tall. The flowers are bright yellow and grow in clusters. Pods are indehiscent and range from 8 to 22cm in length. The maturity of pods varies from one geographical location to another. The tree has a thin, deep reddish-brown coloured bark.
Distribution, Habitat and Ecology
The tree is native to India, all four provinces of Pakistan, Arabia and different parts of Africa.
Babul is a drought resistant tree that thrives in dry areas, but can also withstand floods. It prefers areas where the temperature range is between 20 to 40 degrees centigrade, though it may grow in regions that fall below the minimum estimated temperature. It can adjust to different levels of rainfall, from less than 350 mm to more than 1500 mm annually.
Benefits or Uses
The wood of this tree is utilized as firewood, to make furniture and charcoal. Its bark contains tannin, which is an important chemical for dyeing and tanning leather. The tree also produces gum that is used mainly in the printing industry. It is widely used for fire work and timber. It is introduced and cultivated for erosion and fuel wood. Flowers are used for ornamental purposes, leaves serves as fodder for goats, also used in fencing and hedges. It is honey bee species. Its wood is used for the paper production. Its is also sometimes used as the gum.