Acacia abyssinica Hochst. ex Benth.

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Acacia abyssinica

Photo: Rob Burrett
In garden, Sims Rd, Harare

Acacia abyssinica

Photo: Rob Burrett
In garden, Sims Rd, Harare

Acacia abyssinica

Photo: Rob Burrett
In garden, Sims Rd, Harare

Acacia abyssinica

Photo: Rob Burrett
In garden, Sims Rd, Harare

Acacia abyssinica

Photo: Bart Wursten
By rd up towards Chinziwa

Acacia abyssinica

Photo: Mark Hyde
National Botanic Garden, Harare

Acacia abyssinica

Photo: Mark Hyde
Outside Dandaro by the Borrowdale Road

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Vachellia abyssinica (Hochst. ex Benth.) Kyal. & Boatwr.
Common names: Nyanga flat-top (English)
Description: Flat-topped tree, to 16 m. Bark reddish-brown on older trees; pale yellowish-brown, peeling off in papery wads, on younger trees. Young twigs softly hairy. Thorns in straight pairs at nodes. Leaves: pinnae pairs 20-40; leaflets very small, up to 2(-4) × 0.75 mm. Inflorescence of white spherical heads. Involucel in lower half of peduncle. Pods dehiscent.
Notes: Previously known as subsp. calophylla Brenan, this is no longer recognised (Timberlake, Fagg and Barnes, 1999).

A. abyssinica can be confused with A. sieberiana var woodii, but A. sieberiana usually has fewer than 20 pairs of pinnae and larger leaflets (3-4 mm long), whereas the leaves of A. abyssinica usually have 20-40 pairs of pinnae and the leaflets are usually up to 2 mm long although some overlap occurs. Furthermore, in A. abyssinica the pinnae are relatively short so that the leaves appear long and narrow as may be seen in image number 6.
Derivation of specific name: abyssinica: of Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
Flowering time:Oct - Dec
Worldwide distribution: From Ethiopia southwards to Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique, but not occurring in Zambia or South Africa.
Growth form(s): Tree.
Insects associated with this species: Axiocerses tjoane tjoane (Food plant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Image last updated: Sunday 24 June 2012

Brenan, J.P.M. (1970). Mimosoideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(1) Page 99.

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 210. as Acacia abyssinica calophylla (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 186. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 273. (Includes a picture).

Dowsett-Lemaire, F. (1989). The flora and phytogeography of the evergreen forests of Malawi. I: Afromontane and mid-altitude forests; Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 59(1/2) Page 19.

Drummond, R.B. (1972). A list of Rhodesian Legumes. Kirkia 8(2) Page 213. as Acacia abyssinica calophylla

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 240. As Acacia abyssinica calophylla

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 44. as Acacia abyssinica calophylla

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 92.

Timberlake, J., Fagg, C. & Barnes, R. (1999). Field Guide to the Acacias of Zimbabwe CBC Publishing, Harare Pages 28 - 29. (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 93.

Other sources of information about Acacia abyssinica:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Acacia abyssinica
Flora of Malawi: Acacia abyssinica
Flora of Mozambique: Acacia abyssinica
Flora of Zimbabwe: Acacia abyssinica

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Acacia abyssinica
African Plant Database: Acacia abyssinica
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Acacia abyssinica
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Acacia abyssinica
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Acacia abyssinica
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Acacia abyssinica
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Acacia abyssinica
JSTOR Plant Science: Acacia abyssinica
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Acacia abyssinica
Plants of the World Online: Acacia abyssinica
Tropicos: Acacia abyssinica
Wikipedia: Acacia abyssinica

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Cultivated Plants: Species information: Acacia abyssinica., retrieved 19 April 2024

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