Information printed from the
Guide to the Trees of Kenya Useful for Agroforestry website,
based on "A Pocket Directory of Trees and Seeds in Kenya" by Dr. Wayne Teel
Acacia albida (syn. Faidherbia albida)
(Common Name: Apple Ring Acacia)
|Chemenge (Tug)||Chepputusiya||Kopombo (Pok)|
|Dabaso (Orm)||Dalyet (Seb)||Edurukett|
|Edurukoit (Tur)||Fules (Bor)||Iti (Tai)|
|Larai (Sab)||Mukababu (Tav)||Olasiti (Mas)|
Generally found from Senegal in West Africa across the sahel and south to northern Ghana, Nigeria and to Sudan, then south to Kenya. Originally named Faidherbia albida after the French explorer of W. Africa who first brought back samples to Europe, it was later classified as an Acacia. Many botanist now refer to it as Faidherbia albida though it is better known as an Acacia albida in Kenya.
A. albida is most well known in West Africa, where it has long been used in intercropping with sorghum and millet. This practice which is now defined by scientists as agroforestry, is also established along some watercourses in Turkana District, where the tree is currently being intercropped with their specially adapted short season sorghum. The tree is nitrogen fixing and, being deep rooted, competition with crops for surface moisture is minimal. It has the unique habit of losing its nutrient-rich leaves at the beginning of the rainy season. (Mature trees, spaced at 50-100 trees per hectare, provide substantial fertilizer for newly sprouting crops.) In pasturelands, the presence of A. albida, greatly increases the animal carrying capacity. The 'apple-ring' shaped pods are an excellent fodder for goats and as they are dropped late in the dry season. Mature trees, which grow to 20m tall with a wide-spreading, white-branched crown, can produce 120kg of pods per year.
Preferred Climate Type
Acacia albida is a tree of those drier areas with a high water table that should be less than 7m from the surface. It is most common in the Kerio and Turkwell riverine forests, though some trees have been identified in Kajiado District. Trees are also known on Jebel Marra in Sudan up to an elevation of 2700m, but in Kenya they are mostly below 1500m. It requires loamy or sandy clay soils, which drain well. (Lake Victoria, Lamu, Kajiado, Isiolo, Wajir. Zone IV, 1-3; V, 1-3; VI, 1-3; VII, 1-2.)
The seed is larger than those of many acacia and there are about 10,000 per kilogram. They will store almost indefinitely in cool, dry storage, which is free of insects. Exact seeding time in Kenya varies; pods were ripe near Oloitokitok in July, 1985. For speedier germination seeds can be nicked, or soaked for 24 hours. Germination is good and the overall growth rate is fast; trees near the Lake Victoria shoreline reached 4m in three years with a 10cm diameter at chest height.
Additional Sources of Information
Purdue University: Center for New Crops & Plants Products
Africa: Forestry, Agroforestry, Environment
US Geological Survery EROS Data Center International Program
Copyright © 2004 Wayne Teel