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Acacia catechu

Authority(L.f.) Willd.
Common namesBlack Catechu, black cutch, catechu, Cutch, Dark Catechu
Ecocrop code2593

BRIEF DESCRIPTION A small to medium-sized, thorny deciduous tree reaching 15-25 m in height with dark grey bark, slender branches, white to pale yellow flowers in 5-10 cm long axillary spikes and 5-8 cm long pods. USES A substance called cutch can be extracted from the heartwood and used to tan leather, preserve fishing nets and ropes, dye cotton, silk, canvas, paper and leather and as viscosity modifier in on-shore oil wells. An other extract called katha are used in betel chewing and has medicinal properties.
Also the bark and seed have medicinal properties. The wood is strong and durable and is used for house posts, agricultural implements, wheels, firewood, charcoal, etc. The tree is a host for lac insects. Fresh leaves and small lower branches are eaten by cattle. KILLING T The seedlings are frost-tender, mature trees are frost-hardy. GROWING PERIOD Perennial. The tree starts to flower and produce pods when 5-7 years old. In northern India it shed the leaves in February and new leaves appear in April-May. COMMON NAMES Cutch tree, Catechu tree, Acacie au cachou, Khair, Kagli, Shemi, Karangalli, Sundra, Tella tumma, Sha, Seesiat nua, Seesiat, Sa-che. FURTHER INF Scientific synonyms: A. polyacantha, A. campylacantha, Mimosa suma, M. catechu. Cutch tree occurs naturally in mixed deciduous forests and savannas of lower mountains and hills. In the sub-Himalayan tract from the Indus to Assam, it is found at elevations up to 1000-1500 m. In Australia, it occurs at altitudes from sea level to 520 m. It prefers sites with a high water table. Some places it is cosidered a most undesirable tree. It spreads rapidly on fallow land and in pasture, particularly on low-lying fertile alluvial soil along drainage lines, and is expensive and difficult to eradicate. In India, the yield of heartwood range between 50-75 m3/ha giving a yield of cutch about 4-6 t/ha.
SOURCES (A. cattechu (L.f.) Willd.)
Troup R 1921 pp 447-448 [TEXT, DRA, FER, DEP, RAIN, TEMP]
Skerman P 1988 pp 523-524 [LIMITS, FER, TEXT, DRA]
Shrestha B 1989 pp 129
Turnbull J 1982 pp 49
Voortman R 1994 (pers. comm.)
Maydell H 1986 pp 131 [TEXT, USE]
Lemmens R 1991 pp 37-39 [USE, TEXT]
Green C 1995 pp 37-44 [USE, DRA, TEXT, FER]