Acacia catechu (L.f.) Willd.

Sub-Family: Mimosoideae
English Name: Cutch Tree
Synonym: Mimosa catechu L.f.
Common Name: Kadiram, Black catechu, White kutch
Flowering & Fruiting Period: March-September
Distribution: India and Myanmar
Habitat: Dry deciduous forests
Uses: Catechu, obtained from the heartwood (see Other Uses below) is an indispensible ingredient of 'paan', a slightly narcotic chewing mixture containing betel leaf (Piper betle) and betel palm seed (Areca spp.). The plant is strongly astringent, encouraging clotting of the blood and reducing excess mucous in the nose, large bowel or vagina. It is taken internally in the treatment of conditions such as dysentery, chronic diarrhoea. The bark is a rich source of tannins. The bark exudes a light gum of very good quality and is one of the best substitutes for gum Arabic. The wood makes an excellent fuel, and is ideal for making charcoal.
Key Characteristics: Deciduous, gregarious trees, to 15 m high; bark dark greyish-brown to dark brown. Leaves bipinnate, alternate, stipulate, pulvinate; lamina linear-oblong, margin entire, pubescent. Flowers pale yellow, sessile, in long solitary or in groups of 2-4 axillary spikes; calyx cupular-campanulate; corolla lobes oblong, ovate to linear-lanceolate; stamens many; ovary stipitate; stigma terminal. Fruit a pod.