Black Thorn
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Black Thorn
P Introduced Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Black Thorn
Botanical name: Senegalia mellifera    Family: Mimosaceae (Touch-me-not family)
Synonyms: Acacia mellifera, Mimosa mellifera, Inga mellifera

Black Thorn is a low, branched tree with a more or less spherical crown. Black bark on the stem becomes ash-grey to light brown on the branches, bearing small, short, sharply hooked spines in pairs. It has a shallow but extensive root system radiating from the crown. The roots rarely penetrate more than 1 m. Leaves are characterized by 2-3 pairs of side-stalks each with 2-3 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets are elliptic 0.6-2 cm long and 0.6-1.2 cm wide, hairless and highly coloured beneath. Flowers are sweetly scented, especially at night, in elongated spikes, cream to white in spiciform racemes, up to 3.5 cm long; flower-stalks 0.5-1.5 mm long; calyx up to 1 mm long; flowers 2.5-3.5 mm long. The papery pods with 2-3-seeds are netveined, flat, elongated, 2.5-5.5 cm long, 6 cm wide, hemmed, sometimes more or less narrowed between the seeds. Black Thorn is Flowering: March-June.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed at Vaigai Dam, Distt. Theni, Tamil Nadu.

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