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Acacia modesta (Phulai) – Importance, Usage, Establishment & Management

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Introduction to Acacia modesta (Phulai)

Acacia modesta, commonly known as Phulai, is a member of the family Fabaceae (also called Leguminosae) and sub-family Mimosaceae. It is a deciduous, slow-growing small tree with thorny young shoots and dark brown and black wood. In natural forests, the trees have a 30-year felling cycle and 60-year rotation period on reaching 7 m height and 20 cm in diameter.
Acacia modesta (Phulai) - Importance, Usage, Establishment & Management

Distribution of Acacia modesta

This drought-tolerant tree is typically found in Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan, where it can grow in areas with yearly rainfall between 250 and 1300 mm.
Well adapted to semi-arid and sub-humid regions, Acacia modesta prefers temperatures ranging from -5°C to 40°C and exhibits some resistance to frost.

So far, no insect or disease problems have been identified, granting this tree great potential to be used in reforestation in dry and arid locations.

Acacia modesta - Tech Urdu

Importance of Acacia modesta

In terms of nutritional value, digestibility values range between 60% and 70%, depending on the type of soil and age of the plant. Typical values include 16.2% crude protein, 22.8% crude fiber, 8.1% ash, 2.1% ether extract, and 50.7% nitrogen-free extract.

  • In drylands, Acacia modesta is an important forage species.
  • Tender leaves and twigs, in particular, have a high nutritional value and palatability and are used as fodder for goats and camels.
  • With around 16% protein levels, young shoots are typically used to supplement grass during the dry season.
  • For livestock, this mixture is ideal to improve nutrient utilization and increase weight gain.
  • The plant is also popular in herbal medicines, including those for the treatment of muscular conditions, back pain, and stomach problems.
  • Other uses include fuel, wood, apiculture, gum, and soil conservation.

Establishment and Management

Acacia modesta can be propagated through seed. Clean seed must be stored in a cool dry place, ideally in airtight containers to avoid excessive losses in germination rates. It can safely be kept in these conditions for up to three years.
Fresh seeds can be sown as they are, but if using older seeds a pre-treatment to facilitate germination is recommended. This may involve nicking the seeds to remove the outer coat and/or soaking in water for 24 hours or sulfuric acid for 5 to 15 minutes. Treated seeds should be planted immediately.
For planting, the best method is to sow seeds in nursery conditions in polythene tubes containing a 2:1 silt and manure mixture. Seeds start to germinate within 1 to 2 weeks, but should only be transplanted to the field after 9 to 12 months. Very young plants need to be protected from grazing.
The same tree can be harvested multiple times taking advantage of its ability to re-grow new shoots from buds left in the stumps of felled trees. This traditional silvicultural methodcoppice system – is very common in extensive drylands.
Coppice System of Acacia modesta - Forestrypedia
Courtesy: ICARDA

Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

8 thoughts on “Acacia modesta (Phulai) – Importance, Usage, Establishment & Management

  • Naveed Ahmad

    May i know in acres how much land can be utilized for the cultivation of acacia modesta in Pakistan. What is the current cultivation figure.

  • Naveed Ahmad

    I am working on importance of acacia modesta as honey flora. Pl guide me on the potential in acres and in which districts can be cultivated. What is the current status of it in different districts.


    I am quite happy and grateful to see your research sir; I am very keen to know that in which parts of Pakistan Acacia Trees found in abundance?
    I hope that you would reply me soon.
    Thank you
    Asif yousuf

    • First of all grateful for your kind words Sir. In Pakistan, Acacia trees are found abundantly in all its provinces. It is the main species to Tropical Thorn Forest Types of Pakistan.

  • Javaid Firoz

    Naeem Javaid Sahib
    اسلام علیکم

    I am developing a farm in Thatta are and for the boundary would like to grow Phulai. Can yo please guide me where can I get the seeds from.
    Thanks and regards.
    Javaid Firoz


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