Babul Tree (Acacia Nilotica)
The babul is a gregarious moderate, thorny, nearly evergreen tree with a short trunk, thriving on black cotton soil. The wood is pinkish, dark to reddish on exposure, mottled with dark streaks and very durable. The babul can grow almost anywhere in dry, waterless tracts, eroded ravines and on the marshy banks of lakes. It yields excellent fuel wood as well as fine timber for agricultural implements like the plough, hubs of wheels, well-curbs, sugar and oil presses, rice pounders and wheels of bullock-carts. The bark is used for tanning leather. The gum extracted from the bark is the world famous babul gum. The pods and leaves are a preferred fodder for cattle. The twinges of the tree are used as toothbrushes in the villages and powder from the bark is used as tooth powder. Branches are lopped for feeding goats and for fencing. Lac is also cultivated on this species especially in Punjab. To fulfill the local demand of fuel-wood, social forestry scheme which are financed by the Government encourages the plantation of babul trees in wastelands.