Senegalia senegal (L.) Britton - syn.Acacia senegal (L.) Willd.; Acacia verek Guill. et Perr.; Mimosa senegal L. - Fabaceae
gum arabic tree, Gummiarabikumbaum, Senegal-Akazie, Verek-Akazie
Tree, up to 6m, native to Senegal, Nigeria to East Africa, Arabia; leaves bipinnate, 2-3cm long; inflorescences up to 10cm long, spikes; flowers white; legumes 10cm long, with 5-6 shiny brown seeds
„S. senegal is the source of the world's highest quality gum arabic, known locally as hashab gum in contrast to the related, but inferior, gum arabic from Red acacia or talh gum.“
Acacia senegal gum: Acacia (gum arabic, Gummi arabicum, Arabisches Gummi, Acaciae gummi, Gummi Acaciae) is the dried gummy exudation, flowing naturally or obtained by incision from the stems and branches of Acacia senegal. It may also be derived from other species of Acacia like A. seyal Del., A. abyssinica Hochst. and A. glaucophylla Steud., but their products are of minor quality.
Description: Colorless, light yellow or amber, opaque or translucent friable rounded or ovoid tears, covered with numerous small fissures. Tears often broken into angular fragments. Clear, white (sun bleached) and tasteless grades are preferred, with best qualities collected in Kordofan (central Sudan).
Constituents: Acacia contains of a mixture of various polysaccharides (80-90%) and protein (10-15%). The chief constituent is called arabin and consists of calcium, (and also, potassium and magnesium) salts of arabic acid. Arabic acid is a mixture of branched polysaccharides, containing L-arabofuranose (30-40%), L-rhamnopyranose (10-15%), D-glucuronic acid (10-18%) and a small amount of 4-O-methyl-D-glucuronic acid (1%). [Clarke AE, Anderson RL, Stone BA, Phytochemistry 18 (1979), p.521]
Uses. Pharmacy - as an effective oil-in-water emulsifyier, to prepare a mucilage, as thickener, for tablet manufacture (spray-dried). Also used in candy and other foods as stabilizer for suspensions, to prepare spray-dried 'fixed' flavors with long shelf-life. Acacia should be stored in a cool dry place. Powdered acacia should be stored in airtight containers.
Kohl, F.G., Die officinellen Pflanzen der Pharmacopoea Germanica, t.112 (1891-1895) [F.G.Kohl]