Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd.
Syn.: Mimosa farnesiana L.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
Cassie perfume is distilled from the flowers. Cassie absolute is employed in
preparation of violet bouquets, extensively used in European perfumery. Cassie
pomades are manufactured In Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab. Pods contain 23
percent tannin, a glucoside of ellagic acid, and are used for tanning leather.
Bark also used for tanning and dying leather in combination with iron ores and
salts. In Bengal and West Indies, pods are used for a black leather dye.
Gummy substance obtained from pods used in Java as cement for broken crockery.
Gum exuding from trunk considered superior to gum arabic in arts. Trees used
as ingredient in Ivory Coast for arrow poison; elsewhere they are used as
fences and to check erosion. Wood is hard and durable underground, used for
wooden plows and for pegs. Trees often planted as an ornamental (Duke, 1981).
Morton (1981) says that the seeds, containing an unnamed alkaloid, are used to
kill rabid dogs in Brazil.
Bark is astringent and demulcent, and along with leaves and roots is used for
medicinal purposes. Woody branches used in India as tooth brushes. The gummy
roots also chewed for sore throat. Said to be used for alterative,
antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, demulcent, diarrhea, febrifuge,
rheumatism, and stimulant (Duke, 1981a). Morton (1981) notes that Guatemalans
value the flower infusion as a stomachic. It is also used for dyspepsia and
neuroses. Mexicans sprinkle powdered dried leaves onto wounds. The flowers
are added to ointment, rubbed on the forehead for headache. Green pods are
decocted for dysentery and inflammations of the skin and raucous membranes.
Colombians bathe in the bark decoction for typhoid. Costa Ricans decoct rhe
gum from the trunk for diarrhea, using the pod infusion for diarrhea,
leucorrhea, and uterorrhagia. Panamanians and Cubans used the pod to treat
conjunctivitis. Cubans use the pod decoction for sore throat. For rheumatic
pains, West Indians bind bark strips to the afflicted joint. The root
decoction has been suggested as a folk remedy for tubersulosis. According to
Hartwell (19671971), the decoction of the root, used in hot baths, is said to
help stomach cancer. A plaster, made from the pulp, is said to alleviate
Dried seeds of one Acacia sp. are reported to contain per 100 g: 377
calories, 7.0% moisture, 12.6 g protein, 4.6 g fat, 72.4 g carbohydrate, 9.5 g
flber, and 3.4 g ash. Raw leaves of Acacia contain per 100 g: 57
calories, 81.4% moisture, 8.0 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 9.0 g carbohydrate, 5.7 g
fiber, 1.0 g ash, 93 mg Ca, 84 mg P, 3.7 mg Fe, 12,255 mg b-carotene
equivalent, 0.20 mg thiamine, 0.17 mg riboflavin, 8.5 mg niacin, and 49 mg
ascorbic acid. Reporting 55% protein on a dryweight basis, Van Etten et al
(1963) break down the amino acids as follows: lysine, 4.7 (g/16 g N);
methionine, 0.9; arginine, 9.2; glycine, 3.4;. histidine, 2.3; isoleucine, 3.5;
leucine, 7.5; phenylalanine, 3.5; tyrosine, 2.8; threonine, 2.5; valine, 3.9;
alanine, 4.3; aspartic acid, 8.8; glutamic acid, 12.6; hydroxyproline, 0.0;
proline, 5.1; serine, 4.1; with 76% of the total nitrogen as amino acids.
Cassie has been reported to contain anisaldehyde, benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol,
butyric acid, coumarin, cresol, cuminaidehyde, decyl aldehyde, eicosane,
eugenol, farnesol, geraniol, hydroxyacetophenone, methyleugenol, methyl
salicylate, nerolidol, palmitic acid, salicylic acid, and terpineol (Duke,
1981). The leaves contain lipids, carotenoids, alkaloids, and reducing and
non-reducing sugars (Morton, 1981). El Sissi et al (1973) isolated and
identified from pods, seven polyphenols (gallic acid, ellagic acid, m-digallic
acid, methyl gallate, kaempferol, atomadendrin, and narigenin). Also they
found narigenin-7-glucoside and naringenin-7-rhamnoglucoside (naringin), as
well as naringenin, glucose, and gallic acid.
Thorny bush or small tree, 8 m tall; bark light brown, rough; branches glabrous
or nearly, purplish to gray, with very small glands; stipules spinescent,
usually short, up to 1.8 cm long, rarely longer, never inflated; leaves twice
pinnate, with a small gland on petiole and sometimes one on the rachis near top
of pinnae; pinnae 28 pairs, leaflets 1012 pairs, minute, 27 mm long,
0.751.75 mm wide, glabrous, leathery; flowers in axillary pedunculate heads,
calyx and corolla glabrous, scented; pod indehiscent, straight or curved, 47.5
cm long, about 1.5 cm wide, subterete and turgid, dark brown to blackish,
glabrous, finely longitudinally striate, pointed at both ends; seeds
chestnut-brown, in 2 rows, embedded in a dry spongy tissue, 78 mm long, ca 5.5
mm broad, smooth, elliptic, thick, only slightly compressed; areole 6.57 mm
long, 4 mm wide (Duke, 1981a).
Both A. farnesiana and its var cavenia are extensively cultivated
in and around Cannes, southern France, which is the center for production of
the perfume. The variety seems to be more resistant to drought and frost.
Assigned to the South American Center of Diversity, cassie or cvs thereof is
reported to exhibit tolerance to drought, high pH, heat, low pH, salt, sand,
slope, and Savanna. (2n = 52, 104). (Duke, 1981a).
Probably native to tropical America, but naturalized and cultivated all over
the world, e.g. Africa (Rhodesia, Mozambique) and Australia. Planted in
coastal areas of Ghana and elsewhere in tropical Africa. Grown throughout
India, and often planted in gardens (Duke, 1981a).
Thrives in dry localities and on loamy or sandy soils where it may serve as a
sand binder. Will grow on loose sandy soil of river beds, on pure sand in
plains of Punjab. Requires a dry tropical climate. Ranging from Warm
Temperate Dry through Tropical Desert to Moist Forest Life Zones, cassie is
reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 6.440.3 dm (mean of 20 cases 14.0
dm), annual mean temperature of 14.727.8°C (mean of 20 cases = 24.1°C),
and pH of 5.08.0 (mean of 15 cases = 6.8) (Duke, 1981).
Propagated mainly from seed and cuttings. Seeds germinate readily and plants
grow rapidly. Plants do not require much cultivation, watering or care (Duke,
Trees begin to flower from the third year, mainly from November to March.
Perfume is extracted from the flowers in form of concrete or pomade. Macerated
flowers are placed in melted purified natural fat and allowed to stand for
several hours. They are then replaced by fresh flowers and the process
repeated until the fat is saturated with perfume. Fat is then melted, strained
and cooled. This constitutes the pomade. Odor is that of violets but more
intense. Absolute is prepared by mixing pomade with alcohol (23 kg to about 4
laters) and allowed to stand for 34 weeks at about -5°C. The alcohol is
then separated and distilled over. The extract obtained is an olive-green
liquid with strong odor of cassie flowers (Duke, 1981a).
Mature trees yield up to 1 kg of flowers per season. Southern France (Cannes
and Grasse) is main production center for cassie flower perfume. India and
other Eastern countries produce much for local use (Duke, 1981a).
Though omitted by the recent fuelwood books (NAS, 1980; Little, 1983), this
species should be considered along with other Acacias for its energy potential.
Other species yield fuelwood at rates of 520 m3/ha/yr, but lower yields may
prevail in very humid environments. Of course the straggly bushy forms would
not make very good fuel sources. Morton (1981) notes that the wood is used for
fuel. Allen and Allen (1981) note that it fixes nitrogen.
Fungi reported on this plant include: Camptomeris albizziae, Clitocybe
tabescens, Hypocrea borneensis, Lenzites palisoti, L. repanda, Phyllachora
acaciae, Phymatotrichum omnivorum, Polystictus flavus, Ravenelia austris, R.
hieronymi, R. siliquae, R. spegazziniana, Schizophyllum commune, Systingophora
hieronymi, Tryblidiella rufula, and Uromycladium notabile. It may
also be parasitized by the flowering plants Dendrophthoe falcata and
Santalum album (Duke, 1981a).
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Allen, O.N. and Allen, E.K. 1981. The Leguminosae. The University of Wisconsin
Press. 812 p.
- Duke, J.A. 1981.
- Duke, J.A. 1981a. Handbook of legumes of world economic importance. Plenum
- El Sissi, H.I., El Ansari, M.A., and El Negoumy, S.I. 1973. Phenolics of
Acacia farnesiana. Phytochemical reports. Phytochemistry 12:2303.
- Hartwell, J.L. 19671971. Plants used against cancer. A survey. Lloydia 3034.
- Little, E.L. Jr. 1983. Common fuelwood crops: a handbook for their
identification. McClain Printing Co., Parsons, WV.
- Morton, J.F. 1981. Atlas of medicinal plants of middle America. Bahamas to
Yucatan. C.C. Thomas, Springfield, IL.
- N.A.S. 1980a. Firewood crops. Shrub and tree species for energy production.
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.
- Van Etten, C.H., Wolff, I.A., and Jones, Q. 1963. Amino acid composition of
seeds from 200 angiospermous plant species. J. Agr. Food Chem. 11(5):399410.
Last update December 16, 1997