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Indigenous tree

Scientific name: Acacia sieberana;

English Name: Paperback thorn

Local Name: Mtubetube, Munganuns (B)

General information

Acacia, commonly known as paperbark thorn or paperbark acacia, is a small to medium-sized tree native to tropical Africa, in the north to Ethiopia, and in the south to countries including South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Tree to 18 m high, branches usually spreading, crown typically flattened and spreading or umbrella-shaped, sometimes branches ascending and crown conical, particularly in young plants.

Health benefits

A decoction of the root is taken as remedy for stomach-ache. The decoction is also administered for the treatment of inflammation of the urinary tract and as a pain reliever. In addition, the bark decoction is also used as an astringent for cold, chest problems, cough, haemorrhage, eye inflammation, and for the treatment of gonorrhoea in some parts of Africa.

The bark, leaves and gums are used to treat tapeworm, bilharzia, haemorrhage, orchitis, colds, diarrhoea, gonorrhoea, kidney problems, syphilis, ophthalmia, rheumatism and disorders of the circulatory system. It is also used as an astringent. The pods serve as an emollient, and the roots for stomach-ache, acne, tapeworms, urethral problems, oedema and dropsy.

Agro-forestry and Livestock benefits

The pods, leaves and young shoots are highly nutritious and serve as forage for livestock in the dry season. The pods are collected for fattening sheep especially in Sudan, however are said to taint milk. Flowers are good bee forage, and hives are often placed on the tree.

Harvest: Up to 70-140kg pods

Human benefits

Paperback thorn wood is fairly hard The termite resistant,  and used to make furniture, and handles for implements such as hoes. The gum obtained from the stem bark is edible and is also used to make ink. The bark is used to make a cordage fibre, used for tunning and dyes.  The tree is also good source of firewood.