Gum Arabic Tree

Acacia senegal

Thorny tree or bush 2-6m (up to 12) in height, open with highly branched and ascending branches.  Bark. Light grey to light brown, smooth and flaky, with a red part and white spots. Foliage. Yellowish that turn blackish with lenticels and somewhat pubescent. Thorns. Grey and hooked, arranged in groups of 1, but normally 3, at the base of the leaves, with the central one curved down and the others curved up, measuring 3-6mm long. Leaves. Alternate, bipinnate, some 2.5cm long, with (as few as 2) 3-6 pairs of pinnae and 19 (up to 25) pairs of leaflets per pinna.   Oblong 4-6mm in length and 1-2mm wide and somewhat pubescent. Petiole. It has a gland at the base and often others between the bases of the last 1-5 pairs of pinnae. Inflorescence. Fascicule with 2-3 spikes 2-12cm long, arranged along the leaf axils.  Flower.  Cream coloured. Fruit. Pubescent and glabrous, linear and flat pod, rather papery, pointed at both ends, with spots on the surface, measuring 4-14cm long and 2-3cm wide, greyish when mature, and containing 3-6 seeds.  Seed. Brown flattened and round with diameter of 8-12mm. Flowering. Blooms are before the first rainfalls, but often also at the end of the rainy season.

Natural habit

Species found in the Sahel and Sudanese Sahel, in light loamy soils, brown clays, sometimes lithosols, although it prefers sandy soils.   Species extremely drought resistant (8-11 months without rain).

Gum Arabic Tree
  • Natural Habit



Growth Habit

2-6 m

Flower and fruit


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