Vachellia farnesiana

Vachellia farnesiana (L.) Wright & Arn.

Synonym: Acacia farnesiana

Common Names: Sweet Acacia, Cashia, Aroma, Needle Bush

Family: Fabaceae

Habit: Vachellia farnesiana grows as a small tree/large shrub to 8 m in height with multi trunks. There are small stipular spines in pairs. The bipinnate leaves are arranged alternately, to 8 cm in length with a circular gland in a shallow groove. There are 2-6 pair of pinnae each with 10-20 pairs of asymmetrical, oblong to linear leaflets with entire margins.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in tight, axillary or terminal, globular heads with each flower subtended by a bract. There are 5 fused sepals in the calyx forming a shallow tube.  There are 5 fused petals in the corolla forming a tube that exceeds the calyx. There are numerous bright yellow showy stamens that are 2 times as long as the perianth.  The ovary is superior with a single locule.  The fruit is a curved cylindrical legume that turns dark brown at maturity, up to 8 cm in length.

Habitat: Vachellia farnesiana grows in Human Altered environments (yards, abandoned fields, roadsides).  It has escaped into the edges of Pine Woodlands and Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Forests/Shrublands.

Distribution: Vachellia farnesiana is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but occurs throughout the island groupings.  It is thought to be native to the Caribbean and Central American region but that is uncertain given its current distribution throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Vachellia farnesiana is not known to be used medicinally in the Bahamas. 

Extracts from the flowers has been used in making perfumes. Young leaves, flowers, and the seed pods are edible when cooked. The vegetation has been used for animal fodder as it has a high protein content.