Sweet acacia is a small tree 15-25 feet tall or a shrub with multiple trunks. As a tree it has a spreading vase-shaped, rounded, but irregular open crown, of upright branches. It has rich brown or gray bark bearing long, sharp thorns. Leaves are bluish green, bipinnate, alternate, with individual blades about 2 inches long which give the tree a feathery appearance. Flowers are small, yellow puff-like and borne as showy clusters. Fruits are dry, hard, elongated pods, green turning brown when ripe, 3-6 inches long, containing several seeds. Flowers and fruits attract insects and birds. Sweet acacia is propagated by seeds or cuttings. The tree has various uses including the bark and flowers in traditional medicine, leaves for forage and flavoring and bark for tannin. Oil is distilled from the flowers and used as a fragrance. The tree is hardy and can be grown in various soil types if well-drained; however, it will lose its leaves if a drought occurs. It thrives in fields and on wasteland and has no major pest or disease problems. Sweet acacia is an excellent barrier shrub or tree, as a specimen tree, along the seaside, in medians and under power lines, and is a good tree for a xerophytic garden. It can also be managed as a shrub. The tree should not be planted close to where people might be injured by the sharp thorns.
Bark is astringent and demulcent, and along with leaves and roots is used for medicinal purposes. Woody branches used in india as tooth brushes. The gummy roots also chewed for sore throat. Said to be used for alterative, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, demulcent, diarrhea, febrifuge, rheumatism, and stimulant (duke, 1981a). Morton (1981) notes that guatemalans value the flower infusion as a stomachic. It is also used for dyspepsia and neuroses. Mexicans sprinkle powdered dried leaves onto wounds. The flowers are added to ointment, rubbed on the forehead for headache. Green pods are decocted for dysentery and inflammations of the skin and raucous membranes. Colombians bathe in the bark decoction for typhoid. Costa ricans decoct rhe gum from the trunk for diarrhea, using the pod infusion for diarrhea, leucorrhea, and uterorrhagia. Panamanians and cubans used the pod to treat conjunctivitis. Cubans use the pod decoction for sore throat. For rheumatic pains, west indians bind bark strips to the afflicted joint. The root decoction has been suggested as a folk remedy for tubersulosis. According to hartwell (1967–1971), the decoction of the root, used in hot baths, is said to help stomach cancer. A plaster, made from the pulp, is said to alleviate tumors.