acacia


acacia
/euh kay"sheuh/, n.
1. a small tree or shrub belonging to the genus Acacia, of the mimosa family, having clusters of small yellow flowers.
2. any of several other plants, as the locust tree.
3. See gum arabic.
[1535-45; < L < Gk akakía Egyptian thorn]

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Any of the approximately 800 species of trees and shrubs that make up the genus Acacia, of the mimosa family.

Acacias are native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world, particularly Australia and Africa. Sweet acacia (A. farnesiana) is native to the southwestern U.S. Acacias have distinctive, finely divided leaflets, and their leafstalks may bear thorns or sharp spines at their base. Their small, often fragrant, yellow or white flowers have many stamens apiece, giving each a fuzzy appearance. On the plains of southern and eastern Africa, acacias are common features of the landscape. Several species are important economically, yielding substances such as gum arabic and tannin, as well as valuable timber.

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tree
      any of about 800 species of trees and shrubs comprising a genus (Acacia) in the pea family (Fabaceae) and native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world, particularly Australia (there called wattles) and Africa. Acacias' distinctive leaves take the form of small, finely divided leaflets that give the leafstalk a feathery or fernlike (i.e., pinnate) appearance. In many Australian and Pacific species, the leaflets are suppressed or absent altogether, and the leafstalks (petioles) are flattened and perform the physiological functions of leaves. The leafstalks may be vertically arranged and bear thorns or sharp spines at their base. Acacias are also distinguished by their small, often fragrant flowers, which are arranged in compact globular or cylindrical clusters. The flowers are usually yellow but occasionally white and have many stamens apiece, giving each one a fuzzy appearance.

      About 600 species are native to Australia and various Pacific Ocean islands, with the rest native to either Africa or the Americas. Acacias are especially numerous on the plains of southern and eastern Africa, where they are well-known landmarks on the veld and savanna.

      Several acacia species are important economically. A. senegal, native to the Sudan region in Africa, yields true gum arabic, a substance used in adhesives, pharmaceuticals, inks, confections, and other products. The bark of most acacias is rich in tannin, which is used in tanning and in dyes, inks, pharmaceuticals, and other products. The babul tree (A. arabica), of tropical Africa and across Asia, yields both an inferior type of gum arabic and a tannin that is extensively used in India. Several Australian acacias are valuable sources of tannin, among them the golden wattle (A. pycnantha), the green wattle (A. decurrens), and the silver wattle (A. dealbata).

      A few acacias produce valuable timber, among them the Australian blackwood (A. melanoxylon); the yarran (A. homalophylla), also of Australia; and A. koa of Hawaii. Sweet acacia (A. farnesiana) is native to the southwestern United States. Many of the Australian species have been widely introduced elsewhere as cultivated small trees valued for their spectacular floral displays.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Acacia — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Acacia (homonymie) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • acacia — [ akasja ] n. m. • 1553; acacie XIVe; lat. acacia, du gr. 1 ♦ Bot. Arbre à feuilles divisées en folioles, à fleurs jaunes, dont certaines espèces produisent la gomme arabique. Le mimosa est un acacia (cf. Bois d amourette). 2 ♦ Cour. Arbre à… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Acacia — • The Biblical Acacia belongs to the genus Mimosa Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Acacia     Acacia     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • acacia — ACÁCIA, acacii, s.f. Nume dat arborilor sau arbuştilor tropicali din familia leguminoaselor, cu flori albe sau galbene, cultivaţi ca plante ornamentale, pentru industria parfumurilor şi pentru extragerea gumei arabice (Acacia). – Din lat., fr.… …   Dicționar Român

  • ACACIA — (Heb. שִׁטָּה, shittah), a tree of Israel considered to be identical to the shittah tree. In the past it was extensively used for construction. Today it is planted to beautify the arid regions of Israel. Acacia wood is mentioned repeatedly (Ex.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • acacia — (Del lat. acacĭa, y este del gr. ἀκακία). 1. f. Árbol o arbusto de la familia de las Mimosáceas, a veces con espinas, de madera bastante dura, hojas compuestas o divididas en hojuelas, flores olorosas en racimos laxos y colgantes, y fruto en… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • acacia — familia de árboles y arbustos leguminosos. De algunos de ellos se extráen productos medicinales como el catecú de la Acacia catechu o la goma arábiga de la Acacia verek dibujo de herbario [véase http://www.iqb.es/diccio/a/ac1.htm#acacia]… …   Diccionario médico

  • acacia — [ə kā′shə] n. [ME < OFr acacie < L acacia < Gr akakia, shittah tree, thorny tree; prob. < akē, a point, thorn < IE base * ak̑ : see ACID] 1. a) any of several trees, shrubs, or other plants (genus Acacia) of the mimosa family, with …   English World dictionary

  • Acacia — A*ca cia, n.; pl. E. {Acacias}, L. {Acaci[ae]}. [L. from Gr. ?; orig. the name of a thorny tree found in Egypt; prob. fr. the root ak to be sharp. See {Acute}.] 1. A genus of leguminous trees and shrubs. Nearly 300 species are Australian or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • acacia — sustantivo femenino 1. Árbol o arbusto de varias especies, a veces con espinas, de hoja caduca y flores olorosas, dispuestas en racimos colgantes, del que se obtiene la goma arábiga. acacia blanca / falsa. acacia bastarda Endrino …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • acacia — (n.) 1540s, from L. acacia, from Gk. akakia thorny Egyptian tree, perhaps related to Gk. ake point, thorn, from PIE root *ak sharp (see ACRID (Cf. acrid)). Or perhaps a Hellenization of some Egyptian word. From late 14c. in English as the name of …   Etymology dictionary


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