I will plant in the wilderness… the Shittah tree.
Isaiah 41:19 (KJV)
I tend to side with Zohary, who identified the shittah as Acacia tortilis (q.v.). Still, according to Walker (1957), the Shittah tree is mentioned in the Bible only once but its wood is referred to many times as shittim, which is the plural of shittah in Hebrew. It was natural for Moses to turn to shittim to build the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle. No one is sure which species of Acacia was meant.
Common Names (talh):
‘Alk (Arab.; BOU); Abre à Gomme cialis 20 mg (Fr.; BOU); Buffalo Thorn (Eng.; UPW); Bulkia (Gambia; UPW); Daci (Niger; UPW); Dedera èl Beida (Arab.; Sen.; UPW); Goga (Ghana; UPW); Gomme Friable (Fr.; UPW); Gum Talha (Eng.; Trade.; AH2); Mimosa Epineux (Fr.; UPW); Sadra Bed (Arab.; Mauritania; UPW); Sasé (Upper Volta; UPW); Seyal (Arab.; BOU); Seyal Acacia (Eng.; FAC); Shittah Tree (Eng.; BOU); Shittim Tree (Eng.; Ocn.; AH2; BOU); Sittim Wood (Eng.; FAC); Suakim (Trade; UPW); Talca (Ocn.; AH2); Talakh (Ber.; BOU); Talh (Scn.; AH2); Tamat (Ber.; BOU); Tefi
(Ber.; BOU); Teleh (Arab.; Mali; UPW); Thala (Ber.; BOU); Thirsty Thorn (Eng.; BOU; UPW); Thirty Thorn (Eng.; USN); Tutampolel (Nig.; UPW); Whistling Tree (Ocn.; AH2); Whistling Wood (Eng.; USN); White Galled Acacia (Eng.; UPW); White Whistling Thorn (Eng.; UPW).
Analgesic (f; BOU); Aphrodisiac (f; UPW); Astringent (f; UPW); Diuretic (f; UPW); Emollient (f; UPW); Febrifuge (f; UPW); Hemostat (f; UPW); Insectifuge (f; UPW); Pediculifuge (f; UPW); Stimulant (f; UPW).
Biliousness (f; UPW); Aphrodisiac (f; UPW); Bleeding (f; UPW); Burn (f; UPW); Cancer (f1; UPW); Cold (f; BOU); Conjunctivosis (f; UPW); Diarrhea (f; UPW); Dysentery (f; UPW); Enterosis (f; DAW); Fever (f; BOU; UPW); Gastrosis (f; BOU); Gonorrhea (f; UPW); Headache (f; UPW); Impotence (f; UPW); Inflammation (f; BOU); Jaundice (f; UPW); Leprosy (f; UPW); Lice (f; UPW); Ophthalmia (f; UPW); Pain (f; BOU; UPW); Puerperium (f; BOU); Respirosis (f; BOU); Rheumatism (f; BOU; UPW); Snakebite (f; UPW); Syphilis (f; UPW); Ulcer (f; BOU); Venereal Disease (f; UPW).
FNFF = !!
The tree yields a good quality gum (but inferior to that of A. senegal); said to be edible (BIB; BOU; FAC; UPW).
- Ivory Coastals mix with Acacia sieberana for intestinal ailment of (BIB).
- Masai consider the bark a stimulant, giving bark infusion to feverish children (UPW).
- Nigerians use the wood smoke against insects, lice, etc. (UPW).
- North Africans use wood smoke as a fumigant for rheumatic pain, and to protect mothers
- against colds and fever 2 weeks after parturition (BOU).
- North Africans use the edible gum for respiratory inflammations and rheumatism, the
- bark and leaves for gastric ulcers (BOU).
- Senegalese mix powdered root with hedgehogs’ ventral parts as an aphrodisiac (UPW).
- South Africans mention the gum’s use as an emollient and astringent for colds, diarrhea,
- hemorrhage, and ophthalmia (WBB).
- Sudanese direct smoke from the heartwood toward rheumatic pain; the women appreciating
- the aroma and reddish color it imparts to their skin (UPW).
- Sudanese mix concentrated bark decoction with butter for conjunctivitis and headache
- Tanganyikans use the bark as a stimulant (BIB), taking the root for gonorrhea (UPW).
Natural History (talh):
Phlebotomus orientalis, the vector of visceral leishmania in the Sudan, is typically associated with Acacia seyal and Balanites aegyptiaca vegetation (X11370250). As with many Acacias, the sweet-scented flowers attract bees (UPW). Swellings at the base of the thorns are called ant-galls, and, when hollow, are invaded by ants; the hollowed growths sometimes whistle in the wind (UPW). Like many Acacia species, seeds of this one are subject to predation by bruchid beetles (X8169432). Birth seasons of some monkeys appear to be timed to availability of surplus energy and protein. Patas monkeys’ high locomotive ability may enable them to obtain more energy from seeds of Acacia seyal and gums of A. sieberiana, and more protein from grasshoppers and seeds of A. seyal in the mid-dry season than the tantalus monkeys. Availability of seeds during the dry season may exert the dominant influence on timing of birth not only in patas, but also in savanna monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops), which include the tantalus monkeys (X11132111).
Ethanolic extract reduces tumors (UPW).