Characteristics of Umbrella Thorn Acacia Tree (Vachellia tortilis) in the Wild

Vachellia tortilis
Umbrella thorn acacia used to belong to the genus Acacia but has now been transferred to the genus Vachellia. It is a thorn acacia tree that grows in Africa (especially the Somali peninsula and Sudan), but it is also found growing in the Middle East.

Umbrella thorn acacia trees are often found in arid areas, where temperatures vary from 0 to 50 °C, and rainfall ranges from 100-1,000 mm per year.

This tree is known by many synonymous names including:

  • Samr, Samor, Samra, Sayyal, Sunut (Arabic)
  • Karamoja, Umbrella Thorn Acacia, Babool Israel (UK)
  • Acacia ad ombrello (Italy)
  • Acacia de copa plana (Spain)
  • Haak-en-steek (Africa)
  • Qudhac (Somalia)

Umbrella thorn acacia trees are also an important tree species for the rehabilitation of degraded arid lands. That’s because the tree is resistant to drought, wind, salinity, and can grow in various types of soil. The Umbrella thorn acacia tree can also improve soil nitrogen and nutrients through its interaction with symbiotic root bacteria.


Characteristics of Umbrella Thorn Acacia Leaf

Vachellia tortilis Leaf
Source : Cavener

The leaves are pinnae, 2.5 cm long with 4-10 pairs, each with 15 pairs of leaflets.


Characteristics of Umbrella Thorn Acacia Flower

Vachellia tortilis Flower
Source : Valke

The flowers are small, white, have an aromatic odor, and appear in clusters.


Characteristics of Umbrella Thorn Acacia Fruit

Vachellia tortilis Fruit
Source : Medina

The fruit is pod-shaped, flat, and has a spring-like structure.


Characteristics of Umbrella Thorn Acacia Tree

Vachellia tortilis Tree
Source : Ashley

In very arid conditions, the trees can grow to form shrubs or small trees up to 15-20 meters high.

Umbrella thorn acacia trees are known to withstand drought and extreme heat. It is also able to grow on sandy, rocky soil, and very sloping cliffs.


This tree wood is often used to make furniture, wagon wheels, posts, fences, and pens.

Its wood was used exclusively by the Israelites in the Old Testament in building tabernacles and tabernacle furniture, including the Ark of the Covenant.

The fruit and leaves are used as fodder for pasture animals.

The bark is used as a string medium in Tanganyika and is a source of tannins.

The sap from the tree trunk is edible and can be used as a substitute for gum Arabic.

Tree parts including roots, shoots, and fruit are also often used by local people for various purposes such as decoration, furniture, weapons, and medicine.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.