2009. Know Some Useful Trees and Shrubs for Agricultural and Pastoral Communities of Rwanda
English names: Flat-top acacia
Description: Acacia abyssinica is a big tree growing to a height of 8-20 m with large, spreading and flat crown. Branches usually have paired white thorns.
Bark: Greyish brown, rough with papery peels on young trees.
Leaves: Compound with many small leaflets, feathery pinnae; 15-40 pairs.
Flowers: The pinkish flower buds open into many white round heads.
Fruits: Grey or brown, straight or slightlycurved and softly hairy dry dehiscent pods up to 12 cm long.
Geographical distribution and ecological requirements: A. abyssinica is widespread in Africa from Ethiopia southwards to Zimbabwe. It is commonly found in wooded grasslands and forest edges, especially in highland areas, from 1200-2300 m. In Rwanda, the species has been recorded in Huye, Bugesera and Akagera National Park, at 1400-1800 m where rainfall ranges betwen 214-1634 mm.
Uses: Firewood, charcoal, fodder, timber, ornament, shade, agroforestry, medicine and bee forage.
Propagation: This species can be propagated by seedlings, direct sowing and wildings.
Seed information: Small seeds, about 16000-18000 seeds per kg. Seeds are very much attacked by beetles while still in pods.
Seed storage and pre-germination treatment: Seeds should be soaked in water for 36-48 hours before sowing in order to break dormancy. Seeds remain viable for long period if kept in both sealed airtight containers and places that are dry and cool.
Management: Coppicing and pollarding.
Remarks: The species is drought tolerant, fixes nitrogen and is good for erosion control.
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