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White flowers of a Acaciella angustissima tree
Acaciella angustissima
Acaciella angustissima (Prairie Acacia)

Prairie Acacia, is most recognized for its ability to be used as a green manure and ground covering. It starts as a shrub but eventually matures to a small tree, adorned with small clumps of white flowers. It’s native to the southern regions of North America, the Caribbean, and most of South America. It has a large water requirement. The bark of this plant is used in the production of alcoholic beverages and its root is used in the drink pulque in Mexico. While its seeds are high in protein and can be used as forage for livestock, they contain a tannin content, which inhibits the ability of livestock to fully utilize the tree's protein. Medicinally, the indigenous Tzotzil and Tzeltal Maya people of Mexico use it to treat digestive tract problems, toothache, rheumatoid arthritis, and skin cuts. Experiments have shown that it mildly inhibits the growth of certain bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Photographed in Bogotá, Colombia where it is one of two native Colombian species of the genus Acaciella with a habitat between 2,300 and 8,500 feet.

Acaciella angustissima fading cream color flowers

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