Wild Plants of Pakistan








A moderate-sized, almost evergreen tree up to 12 – 18 m high and a girth of 1 m, with a spreading crown and feathery foliage, flowers bright yellow, fragrant, crowded in long-stalked globose heads, commonly known as Babul in Pakistan and India, flowering from March to November, and seeds are blackish brown, it is a native to Africa and the Indian subcontinent, it is common along streams, river-banks, and on uncultivated land; also in moist sandy to saline soil, propagates by seeds, trees commence to bear fruit at an early age, and seed annually,  it is widely distributed in W. Pakistan (Punjab, Sindh); India; Tanganyika.

The tree is gregarious and forms either pure stands or is dominant. It is a strong light-demander. Babul is one of the favourite timbers for native wheelwright work, being used for felloes, spokes, naves and axles for the bodies of carts, and also for shafts and yokes. It is also used for agricultural implements such as ploughs, harrows, also used to make well curbs, tent pegs, boat handles, walking-sticks etc. Leather made from Babul bark is firm and durable; the seeds of Babul are eaten roasted or raw in times of acute scarcity.

Gum produced by A. nilotica, is called Gum Arabic (is not the true gum Arabic which is obtained from Acacia Senegal. Good quality Babul gum is used in calico-printing and dyeing, as a sizing material for silk and cotton, and in the manufacture of paper.

Leaves are used for eye-diseases, bark is a source of tannin, and are used for asthma and skin diseases. Stem is used for tooth-brush and gums for burns; leaves and pods eaten by goats, a good soil binder and increases soil fertility through nitrogen fixation. Pods are reported to be effective in urinogenital disorders; the unripe pods are used to make ink, a decoction of the bark is used as a substitute for soap.