Habit: It is a medium-sized deciduous tree.
Root: It has a tap root system with nodules that has nitrogen fixing bacteria
Stem: The stems are aerial, erect, cylindrical, branched, solid, and greyish-white. The younger parts of the tree has a smooth bark which is blackish-brown in colour and rough bark with black blotches in older trees. They have 1-4 cm long spines arising from leaf axils, paired, straight, brown or dark red.
Leaves: The compound leaves are bi-pinnate, with 4-13 pairs of pinnae, each with 5-30 pairs of leaflets. Cup shaped glands are found at the junction of each pair of side stalks. The feathery green foliage offers a strong contrast to the light-coloured bark. Leaf fall is between December and April.
Flower: Ronjh tree flowers from August to September. The flower heads are creamy to pale yellow. The species in Udaipur are pink, ending in a creamy top. The flowers are complete, symmetrical and bi-sexual. The androecium consists of indefinite stamens that stick out.
Fruit: The seed pods can be from 10-17 cm long, 6-8 mm. They are flat, linear, oblong, slightly curved and yellowish-brown in colour.
Seed: 8-12 seeds are lodged in separate compartments of the pod. They are spherical, smooth, and pale-brown in colour.
Pollinators: Bees and butterflies
Root parasite/ bacteria/ microorganism: Nitrogen fixing bacteria
Rhizobium: Ronjh fixes atmospheric nitrogen through a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobium bacteria which enables it to survive on infertile sites.”
Visiting birds: Sparrow, Bulbul, Dove
Seed Dispersal: Seed dispersal is by livestock
Where they grow: Native to open scrubland. This moderate to large sized thorny deciduous tree is characteristic of dry regions, hardy and drought-resistant, adapting to dry, rocky, sandy soils.
Medicinal: The bark of all Acacia species contains greater or lesser quantities of tannins and astringent. Astringents are often used in many different ways; for example: they are used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery, and can also be helpful in cases of internal bleeding. Applied externally, often as a wash, they are used to treat wounds and other skin problems, haemorrhoids, perspiring feet, some eye problems, as a mouth wash etc.
The bark and the gum from the tree are used in traditional medicine to treat bronchitis and asthma.
Other uses: The leaves yield a black dye, while the inner bark is used to make a red-brown dye and its fibre is used for making ropes and fishing nets.
Agroforestry: The wood is strong, hard and tough. It is used for agricultural implements, oil mills, carts and cart wheels and for turnery. It is also used as fuel. The fibers of the bark are used for coarse cordage. The gum is used in indigenous medicine and the pods are generally gathered for fodder.
The bark is often used to distil liquor, a reason for the tree’s other interesting name: Distiller’s Acacia or Sharab ki Keekar. The bark is said to be a clarifying and flavouring agent in the preparation of spirit from sugar and palm juice.