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       Gum Arabic or gum Acacia is a tree gum exudate and has been an important article of commerce since ancient times. It was used by the Egyptians for embalming mummies and also for paints for hieroglyphic inscriptions. Traditionally the gum has been obtained mainly from the Acacia Senegal species. The trees grow widely across the Sahelian belt of Africa situated north of the equator up to the Sahara desert and from Senegal in the west to Somalia in the east. The gum oozes from the stems and branches of trees (usually five years of age or more) when subjected to stress conditions such as drought, poor soil or wounding. Production is stimulated by ‘Tapping’, which involves removing sections of the bark with an axe taking care not to damage the tree. The sticky gummy substance dries on the branches to form hard nodules which are picked by hand and are sorted according to colour and size (Fig). Commercial samples commonly contain Acacia species other than Acacia Senegal notably Acacia seyal. In Sudan the gum from Acacia Senegal and seyal are referred to as hashab and talha respectively. The former is a pale to orange-brown solid which breaks with a glassy fracture and the latter is darker, more friable and is rarely found in lumps in export consignments. Hashab is undoubtedly the premier product but the lower-priced talha has found recent uses which have boosted its value. It is not possible to identify precisely the exact balance between these two products in the market-place since it is continually changing. Some typical grades of Sudanese gum available are listed in Table .

Table: Grades of Sudanese gum



Hand-picked selected

The most expensive grade. Cleanest, lightest colour and in the form of large nodules.

Cleaned and sifted

The material that remains after hand-picked selected and siftings are removed. Comprises whole or broken lumps varying in colour from pale to dark amber.


The standard grade varying from light to dark amber. Contains siftings but dust removed.


Fine particles remaining following sorting of the choicer grades. Contains some sand, bark and dirt.


Very fine particles collected after the cleaning process. Contains sand and dirt.


Dark red particles.

0- Family

Acacia Senegal (L.) Wild. Var Senegal

Sp.P1.4: 1077  (1806); F.W.T.A., Ed 2, 1: 498 (1958);

Brenan in F.W.T.A Leg. (Pt.1) Subfamily Mimosoideae 92:1959;

Family: Fabaceae

Var. Senegal Brenan 1.c.p.93

Syn. Mimosa Senegal L., Sp.:521(1753).

Acacia verek Guill. & Perr. In F1. Seneg. Tent. 1:245, t.56 (1832)

Broun & Massey in F1. Sudan 171 : 1929.

Oliv. F.T.A 2:342  (1871) . Nom. Illigit.

Arabic : Hashab , Aalob.

1- General Description

   A bush or tree, usually less than six meters, may sometimes reach 12 meters, the crown is variable, flat, diffuse or round. The bark is gray, scaly, coarse. Small thorns directly under the leaves of the plant, individually or triangular, may be up to 7 mm (mm) in length, the middle of which is bent down and the sides curved upwards. The leaves are narrow and long with edges. Leaves 20 – 64 pairs, 2-5 mm in length 0.4 – 0.75 mm in width. The flowers are white or bleached, languid (no neck), in cylindrical clusters 6 – 12.5 centimeters (cm), blooming with new leaves. The fruit is horny, brown, fluffy, membranous, rectangular, 2-12 cm in length, 1-2 cm in width,

the seed is semi-round to lenticular, 8-12 mm in diameter, olive-colored to brown.

2- Leaf tree growth, flowering and fruiting:

  The leaves appear before the rainy season. The leaves are falling out of the tree irregularly. Most trees fall off their leaves during November – December, but in most areas of the Hashab tree you see trees that keep their leaves longer. And fruiting after the rainy season from December to April and seeds ripen from January to April.

 Country of origin: Sudan.

3- Distribution

   Wide spread, spread in two areas: The first is on fixed sand, with a rainfall rate of 280 mm and above with a clear concentration between the rainfall rates of 280-450 mm in the West Nile states: White Nile, Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur.

The second on the muddy plains with rainfall rates of 500 mm and above in the states of Gedaref, Blue Nile, Sennar, South White Nile, South Kordofan and East and Southern Darfur.

Planted and naturally grown Hashab trees are the most widespread in Sudan in private holdings and forests federal, state, institutional and community forests. Estimate the area occupied by planted hashab trees and naturally arising about one million acres.

4- Features

   A small tree with a crown ends up flat. Its flowers are bleached to white in cylindrical clusters not arranged around an axis and in their entirety longer than the leaves. The fruits are pale brown horns, flat, membrane about 9 cm in length, taper to circular limbs.

5- Benefits and uses

   Indirect benefits for Hashab trees like most forest trees, the greatest important of Direct benefits sensitive and visible. It is the protector of the Agro-pastoral and biodiversity-enhancing environment. On their leaves, branches and fruits graze and feed cattle, These cattle leave their residues from dung and urine. , In addition to decomposition of leaves, branches and fruits in the soil and nitrogen produced in the roots, All of which together give fertility to the soil and prepare it for the production of agricultural crops and weeds and grasses around and below.

   Direct benefits include firewood and gum Arabic, wood is used locally in construction purposes and fences (stables) It is also used in fuel and charcoal industry. the most common product of the Hashab tree is gum Arabic.

   The overall interferences and interactions of forest trees in general and Al-Hashab especially with their surrounding organisms including humans are what has been known recently been known in the academic circles and environmental, farming systems and forestry pastoralism.

6- Planting, growing and caring for trees

Since the independence of the country in the 1950s, the Sudanese Forestry Department has been concerned with the development and maintenance of the Hashab tree and an integrated “protocol” has been developed for its management. Through applied research conducted by the Forestry Research Center, university professors, postgraduates, forestry and agriculture practitioners, the methods of seed collection and conservation, and create seedlings in the arboretum, And seedling transfers to the field, sowing and planting seeds, The operations were developed tapping, collection, cleaning, sorting and then manufacturing.

The hard and directed research work on the trees and the production of gum Arabic began after independence in two axes:

  1. When the Director of Forestry at the time established Mr. Mohamed Kamel Shawki, a department of gum Arabic research at the Forestry Department, and bringing in experts from Europe in 1958, to search operations tap the hashab tree, they were joined by a number of Sudanese counterparts from newly graduated forest professionals from British universities and technicians graduating from class.

It is inevitable here to mention Mr. Marshall Forest Governor Western Section (White), Mr. Ramsey, assistant governor of the western section of Nyala in 1947, and the Fidel Hull of foreign experts. One of the Sudanese technicians is Ahmed Khaled Abu Bakr (observant of the forests of Al-obeiyed) And Jack Ismail (observant of the forest of the Al-Rahad). Jacob Daou (observant belt Om-Rawaba). Abdullah Abdul Qawi (Observant of the gum Arabic forests in El Fasher). Hashim Ibrahim Mohammed Khair (forest chief of the Talodi). And Mahmoud Rahma (forest headmaster in Sameeh). Youssef Mabrouk (1940s and 1950s). Abdul Rauf Obeid, Ja’far Aleem and Mohammed Al Amin Al-Faki (forest officers of Nyala). Then Muhammad Ali Yusuf (officer of the Gum Arabic Forest) as the last counterpart of Fidel Hall from technicians to the presenter Mr: Abu Qasim Saifuddin of professionals.

  1. When the Director of Forestry, Muhammad Kamel Shawqi, Dr. Anderson, at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (1959), provided the necessary funding for the beginning of research on the chemistry of gum Arabic. Through this beginning, Professor Anderson became the mark of time in the chemistry of gum Arabic and he and his collaborators of various nationalities, including Sudanese, published many books and hundreds of scientific papers in prestigious journals and periodicals, many of which refer to this chapter.


      Foreign experts and the scholarship of Sudanese to European, American, Australian, Indian and Pakistani universities to gain degrees in forest sciences, the placement of Sudanese with foreign experts, the funding of the University of Edinburgh and the expenses of the University of Edinburgh were all part of the newly independent Government of Sudan and the Forestry Department budgets.


An Introductory Framework for the Research Expert on the Arabic Gum: Videl Hall *

M. P. Vidal Hall

– Name: Videl Hall, Nationality: – British. Birth: – December 24, 1911.

– Qualifications: – Bachelor 1930 – 1933 University of Oxford.

– Worked in the Forestry Department before Sudanization as Forest Governor on 5 April 1937.

– He was reappointed after Sudanization on 16 August 1958. Gum Arabic forests research expert.

– One of the first experts of the Department of Gum Arabic Research, conducted surveys on the gum belt and wrote preliminary reports on the production areas and the production areas

– Fidel’s work (Bash – Governor) Forest for the southern directorates He contributed to planting forests of the Tropical Directorate.

– Published works in forestry (Equatoria) and Bahr El Ghazal

– Has made significant contributions in the field of gum Arabic research.

– His term of service ended at the Forestry Department on 16 September 1962, and died in Sudan on 5 February 1964.

(*). Thanks to Prof. Dr. Talat Dafalla to dive into the Forestry Department files and gather information in this regard.

      At the beginning of the gum Arabic research, Abu Qasim Saif al-Din mentioned that the functions of the gum Arabic research department were determined in two parallel tracks:

1 – Research in the chemistry of gum Arabic, in order to find new uses to raise the demand for it. This research is conducted in one of the American or British universities (due to the lack of specialists in this field at the University of Khartoum, then newly established).

2 – Research in all aspects of gum Arabic production in the field, conducted by the gum Arabic research department.

    As part of these tasks, the Gum Research Department began conducting in-depth surveys in the gum Arabic belt with the presentation of the Sudan during the first triennium 1958-1961. The report in this regard, prepared by the Arab Gum Research Expert, contains many of the basic information that Gum Arabic research programs will build on in the future. The report also contains a definition of trees producing gum Arabic, its ecological and geographical distribution and its morphological description. Apart from the enumeration of the problems faced by gum Arabic producers, the department began to conduct limited experiments in the methods of growing the al-Hashab tree, the main producer of gum Arabic, as well as considering internal marketing.


  Various gum samples were collected and sent to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, to investigate their chemical properties by Dr. Anderson.

Field research that followed the initial examination gave precedence to the following:

(a). Propagation Hashab trees.

(B). Identify high productivity varieties of Hashab trees.

(C). Tests of varieties strains .

(D). Studying the current situation and challenges facing gum Arabic production.

(e). Tests in operations analysis \ Biological Anatomy.

      Experiments conducted included several aspects of propagation, such as natural reproduction, arboretum practices, and general afforestation (development and care) of the tree. The studies also included the effects of biological and natural factors on the growth and development of the tree. An estimated part of this research was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Mohamed Obaid Mubarak, Botany Department, Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum.

      The research and studies were then funded by the Government of the Sudan and development partners from donors, UN organizations and international and local voluntary organizations, on Hashab and Gum in the areas of development and care, production and production, processing and processing, post-harvest gum, , The economic / social aspects And the role of forest trees in general

and especially producing gum Arabic hashab trees especially in sustainable rural development, trade, marketing and export of gum Arabic, and the chemistry and uses of gum Arabic.

     Most of the studies were done to obtain the master’s degree and doctorate, most of them in Khartoum University and the newly established Sudanese universities, and few in foreign universities such as the University of Helsinki in Finland and Edinburgh, and the University of Wales in the United Kingdom, and some in the implementation of development aid projects.



0- Family

Subfamily: Mimosoideae

Family: Fabaceae

Arabic : Talh

1- General Description

   Tree 3-17 meters in height. The crown is variable, flat and diffuse in an undetermined form, mealy bark (Cover the powder layer), Smooth or semi-scaly, bleached to yellowish or orange red, sometimes there is red and green bark in the same tree.

     Soft barren twigs (Free of lint and bristles) It has many red glands, The outer bark and the outer membrane of the branches are reddish and scaly to reveal the green or reddish bark (mealy), The basal glands end with forks. Thorns 10 cm (cm) in length, Leaves 1-12 cm in length, Glands on the stems or before the leaves or the last two leaves.

    The main axis of flowers is 7 cm in length. Paper parts 3-9 pairs, the leaves are 7 – 20 pairs, 3-0.5 * 7-1.3 mm (mm) Semi-rectangular to straight, end at an obtuse angle, the base is slanted, barren, but the edges are capillary.

   Nawara (flowering) in the form of dense clusters, Yellow (Burm), Cluster 1-4 cm in length , barren , Qnabat florescence coracidium , the longitudinal line is prominent, 2.5 cm long. Flower cup coracidium 4-6 cloves or loops , White to yellow, the end is curved backward, 0.5 * 2 mm (mm), coronet 5-6 cloves , Barren , dark, 0.8 * 4.5 mm. Yellow, free , 9 mm in length.

   The fruit is horny, Gooseneck (Gooseneck like a sickle), Cracked, torn between seeds, Barren, Distribution system veins of the plant longitudinal, Prominent red glands on the surface of the horn, 7-22 cm in length, 0.5-0.9 cm in width.

Seed color as olive color to olive brown, Barren, curly, compressed, elliptical, The seeds tilted longitudinally in the horn on a thin white bundle , 3 * 7-4.5 mm, Marginal gaps In the form of a horseshoe, 2 * 4 mm, The ropes that connect the seedlings are very long and are wrapped 1.5 cm in length.

2- Leaf growth, flowering and fruiting

  Leaves appear ahead of the rainy season. Drop the leaves irregularly. most trees drop their leaves during November – December, But in most areas of acacia trees you see trees that hold their leaves longer.

Flowering: November – April.

Fruiting:  January – May.

Country of origin: Sudan.

3- Distribution

   Sudan began to practice forestry in the beginning of the twentieth century and gained independence in 1956 and the tree of acacia. It is the dominant tree in the Talh and Heglig group that covers all of central Sudan. All the planned and unplanned agricultural activity which started with the establishment and operation of Al-Jazeera project in 1925 and agriculture fires in 1940 Gedaref area which has expanded known as mechanized farming to expand in Sennar, Blue Nile, White Nile and South Kordofan , New Halfa, Rahad and Suki projects and private irrigated projects on the Blue and White Niles , and sugar projects starting with Jneid and New Halfa, ending with Kenana and White Nile 2012 , Recently, oil extraction and gold mining, all of this activity accompanied by the burning of charcoal in the land intended for agricultural expansion and others to meet the consumption of all areas of northern Sudan , Most of the activity was on deforestation of acacia trees and forests in the so-called Savna al-Talh and Heglig group, The final output of these operations is the complete removal of natural forests and acacia groups (first generation) in all areas east of the Nile Valley, except for some pockets of reserved forests and most of the areas west of the Nile Valley except some areas of South Kordofan and East Darfur.

      Nevertheless, the talh tree and the rest of the first and subsequent generations may represent the first tree of Sudan, it is widespread, in central and southern Sudan, with an indication of cracked clay soils and rainfall of over 600 mm per year. Acacia tree is the most tolerant organism tree, so it is spread in the most humid areas of Sudan.

  Acacia trees planted and naturally arising It is most prevalent in Sudan in private holdings, federal, state, institutional and community forests, Estimate the area occupied by acacia trees planted and naturally arising about two million acres.

4- Features

High tree, red or green bark, dense blossoming flowers (twines), curved corneal fruit.

5- Benefits and uses

   The direct benefits of al-talh trees include the provision of firewood for buildings, and for the industry of the finest types of charcoal,  gum Arabic, which flows naturally from the Umm Sabo.

    The indirect benefits of acacia trees, like most forest trees, are greater and more significant than the tangible and visible direct benefits. Acacia trees are the protector of the Agro-pastoral and biodiversity-enhancing environment. On the leaves, branches and flowers of the plant and its fruits, Cattle feed on new leaves in the tree and leave their droppings of dung and urine , in addition to the decomposition of leaves, branches and fruits in the soil and nitrogen produced in the roots, all of which together fertilize the soil and prepare it for the production of agricultural crops and weeds and grass around and below.

    Total overlaps and forest tree interactions generally the particular alchemy with its surrounding organisms including human is what has recently been known in the academic and environmental circles of the agroforestry and pastoral agriculture systems.

6- Planting, growing and caring for trees

  Unlike the case of the al-Hashab tree, the al-Talh tree did not receive as much attention as it deserved. Despite its supply of services and wooden and non-wood goods to Sudan over the decades, its means of production , development and care have not yet been sufficiently developed. Al-Talh tree did not enter into interest in terms of organized reforestation until after the introduction of the Forest Law and the National Forestry Commission in 1989. Shortly before that, the Commission started re-planting, reforestation and rehabilitation of the Talh Forests in Sennar and Al Qadarif governorates by sowing the seeds of Al-Talh and introducing Al-Talh within the seed mix which began to distribute to the owners of automated projects to establish a windbreak belt  by acacia trees . Belts between Qandlibah and Rawashdeh in Gedaref.

  In addition, the Tree of Talah has not entered into interest in studies and research until after the expansion of higher education and scientific research and the implementation of development aid projects in the late 1980s. Most of the studies were done to obtain the master’s and doctoral degrees, most of them at the University of Khartoum and a few of them in foreign universities such as the University of Helsinki, Finland, and some in the implementation of development aid projects.

  Perhaps the first scientific study of the tree Talah was to obtain a master’s degree by Babeker Fadlullah Mohammed Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum in 1963, the study of Abu Qasim, to obtain a doctorate degree at the University of Khartoum in 2002 about some differences in the type of acacia affecting the color of the bark, For the master’s degree in the Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum, 1979,About Acacia mite , and study Tijani Tom Ahmed to obtain a master’s degree at the University of Khartoum in 1995 ,On the effect of some seed piercings on the germination potential of Acacia and Mesquite seeds, Then it came Lars Karodal studies 1986, and Amira Awad Mohammed Saleh for a master’s degree in the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Khartoum 1987 Mammon Kassem Moussa 1988 about providing seed germination and establishment of seedlings of acacia, and then after another studies.