Umbrella thorn

Umbrella thorn

Plants Identity

Scientific Name

Acacia tortilis (Forssk.) Hayne

Arabic name(s)

Talh / Sayal

English name(s)

Umbrella thorn




Fabaceae / Mimosoideae


Acacia Mill.


Acacia tortilis (Forssk.) Hayne



Growth form

Umbrella thorn is an armed desert tree or shrub.

Plant’s Description

Botanic Description Acacia tortilis is regionally one of the most abundant woody species in arid North Africa and west Asia. Its distribution extends eastward to the Arabian peninsula and southward to southern Africa (Brenan 1983; El Amin 1990) and it occurs in a variety of habitats.

Ecology (Habitat)& distribution

Umbrella thorn "Samor" is considered as one of the larger widespread trees prevalent in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.

Geographic distribution

Plant’s Citations in the Holy Qur’an

The name of the plant is not mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.

Other Citations for the plant in the Holy Qur’an

Other Citations for the plant in the Hadith

Narrated Jubair bin Mutim: That while he was with Allah’s Apostle who was accompanied by the people on their way back from Hunain, the bedouins started begging things of Allah’s Apostle so much so that they forced him to go under a Samura tree where his loose outer garment was snatched away. On that, Allah’s Apostle stood up and said to them, “Return my garment to me. If I had as many camels as these trees, I would have distributed them amongst you; and you will not find me a miser or a liar or a coward. Sahih Al-Bukhari, book of fighting for the cause of Allah.

Other Citations for the plant in the Hadith

History of the Plant

Stories about the plant in Holy Qur’an

Stories about the plant in Sunnah

The plant in the Arabic Literature


Did you know?

Functional Uses



Traditional Uses


Medicinal uses

Constituents (Chemical composition)

Side Effects

Other Uses

Cultivation (Agriculture)

Cultivation History

Cultivars and Varieties

Growth and propagation

Tree management

• Germination: Seed may be sown directly on site in mulched lines 5 m apart, or in patches (Parkash 1991). Seeds are often extracted by pounding pods in a mortar followed by winnowing and cleaning. The hard-coated seeds remain viable for several years under cool, dry conditions. They require pretreatment for good germination. Mechanical scarification works best for small seed lots. Soaking seeds either in sulfuric acid for 20-30 minutes, or in poured, boiled water allowed to cool, are both effective treatments (Fagg and Greaves 1990). • Transplanting: It is better to plant nursery-raised seedlings in containers in areas of erratic rainfall (Parkash 1991). For containerized seedlings, sow 2 seeds per pot. Young seedlings are sensitive to hot winds. • Pruning • Supporting

Pests and diseases

Harvesting & Yield

• Harvesting • Yield A. tortilis is a good shade tree for people and for silvipastoral agroforestry uses in arid areas. It is not good for intercropping or near farmland due to wide, shallow roots (Teel 1984). Useful for sand dune stabilization, shelterbelts along canals and roads, and in sandy arid areas. It is recommended for semiarid areas on sandy soils with low rainfall, for fuelwood production (Forest Division 1984). Multiple products can be obtained from this tree e.g. fuel wood, charcoal, timber, poles, fodder, medicinal, tannin, molluscicide and algicide.


- Acacia tortilis. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from - Hobbs, J. J., Krzywinski, K., Andersen, G. L., Talib, M., Pierce, R. H., & Saadallah, A. E. M. (2014). Acacia trees on the cultural landscapes of the Red Sea Hills. Biodiversity and Conservation, 23(12), 2923–2943. - Indigenous multipurpose trees of Tanzania: Uses and economic benefits for people - ACACIA TORTILIS*. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2016, from* - Ross, Z., & Burt, J. (2015). Unusual canopy architecture in the umbrella thorn acacia, Vachellia tortilis (= Acacia tortilis), in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Arid Environments, 115, 62–65. - Vir, S., & Jindal, S. K. (1994). Fruit infestation of Acacia tortilis (Forsk) hyne by Bruchidius andrewesi Pic. (Coleoptera: Bruchidae) in the Thar Desert. Forest Ecology and Management, 70(1–3), 349–352.