Vachellia acuifera (Bentham) Seigler & Ebinger, Phytologia 87: 142. 2005.syn. Acacia acuifera Bentham, London J. Bot. 1: 496. 1842.
Synonymy and types
Basionym: Acacia acuifera Benth., London J. Bot. 1: 496. 1842. Bahamia acuifera (Benth.) Britton & Rose, N. Amer. Fl. 23: 86. 1928. - TYPE: BAHAMAS. W. Swainson s.n. (holotype: K).
Pithecellobium micrantha Benth. Trans. Linn. Soc. London 30: 589. 1875. Cojoba micrantha (Benth.) Britton & Rose, N. Amer. Fl. 23: 30. 1928. - TYPE: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. Santo Domingo, 1852, R. Schomburgk 149 (holotype: B, destroyed; isotypes: F fragment and photo, P, NY fragment). NOTE: For additional information, see Rico-Arce 1991 and Barneby 1992).
Shrub or small tree to 6 m tall. Bark dark brown to reddish brown to gray, smooth; the older branches usually bearing clusters of fusiform, straight stipular spines to 120 mm long clustered on short shoots. Twigs reddish-brown to dark gray, not flexuous, glabrous. Short shoots sometimes present above the stipular spines, to 1 mm long, covered with acuminate stipules and old leaf bases. Leaves alternate, rarely arising from short shoots, 0.3-10.2 mm long. Stipular spines reddish-brown, becoming gray with age, symmetrical, terete, straight, aciculate, to 20 x 0.7 mm near the base, glabrous, sometimes becoming enlarged and similar to the spines found on the short shoots of the older stems. Petiole adaxially grooved, 0.3-10.2 mm long, petiolar gland solitary, located just below the first pinna pair, sessile to short-stalked, glabrous, apex circular to elliptic, 0.4-0.8 mm across, depressed, glabrous. Rachis absent. Pinnae 1 pair per leaf, (25)40-65 mm long, usually with a small gland between each pair of leaflets. Petiolules 2-5 mm long. Leaflets (6)12 to 18(22) pairs per pinna, opposite, 2-7 mm between leaflets, oblong to elliptic-oblong, 6-17 x 2.0-5.4 mm, glabrous, lateral veins usually not obvious, only one vein from the base, coriaceous, base oblique, margins not ciliate, apex obtuse. Inflorescence a densely flowered globose to subglobose head, 5-8 mm across, in fascicles of 1 to 12 from the short shoots, rarely in elongate racemose clusters. Pedicels 16-30 x 0.4-0.9 mm, glabrous. Involucre 4- to 5-lobed, located just below the globose head, glabrous, persistent. Floral bracts spatulate, 0.3-0.5 mm long, apex glabrous to sparsely puberulent, more or less persistent. Flowers sessile, yellow; calyx 5-lobed, 0.6-0.9 mm long, glabrous; corolla 5-lobed, 1.4-2.2 mm long, glabrous; stamens 40 to 50, stamen filaments 2.4-3.1 mm long, distinct; ovary glabrous, on a stipe to 0.4 mm long. Legumes light to dark reddish-brown to dark brown, slightly curved to almost falcate, flattened in cross section, very slightly constricted between the seeds, linear, 60-110 x 5-7 mm, coriaceous, wrinkled but not striate, glabrous and lustrous, eglandular, dehiscent along the ventral suture; stipe 2-5 mm long; apex acute. Seeds uniseriate, surrounded by a reddish-brown pulp, light yellowish-brown, ovoid, flattened, 3.2-5.5 x 2.4-3.8 mm, smooth; pleurogram oval, 1.6-2.2 across. Flowers year around. Chromosome number unknown.
Found on calcareous soils throughout the eastern Bahamas from Grand Bahama and Great Abaco south through Eleuthera, Cat and San Salvador to Crooked and Great Inagua islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands (Correll and Correll 1982).
Vachellia acuifera is the only member of this species group that is broadly distributed in the Caribbean. Although this species is edaphically specialized, occurring on calcareous soils, these soils are ubiquitous in the Bahamas. V. acuifera is common on the islands where these soils are found.
This species was found to be very uniform in most characters, and is well separated morphologically from closely related species. Significant variation was found only with regard to stipular spine development on leafy shoots, most specimens having only small spines less than 5 mm long, but occasional specimens with longer spines were encountered. Vachellia acuifera is distinguished from all other related species, with the exception of V. bucheri, on the basis of its pinnae 40-65 mm long, and the involucre positioned just below the flowering head. This species is separated from V. bucheri by having fewer pairs of leaflets per pinna (12 to 18 vs. 22 to 39), wider leaflets (>2 mm vs. <1.5 mm), and the presence of a gland between the leaflet pairs. Of the 61 specimens tested for cyanide, 80% were found to be cyanogenic, 20% of these releasing cyanide only after the addition of emulsin.
- 21 Dec-6 Jan 1906, L.J.K.Brace 4474 (NY);
- Atwood Harbour, coppice on road to Chester, 13 Mar 1976, W.T.Gillis 13167 (CM).
- Wilson's Bay, behind the beach, 12 Oct 1967, R.Byrne 356 (A);
- the Bight and vicinity, 1-6 Mar 1907, N.L.Britton & C.F.Millspaugh 5842 (F, NY).
- Glass Window to Gregory Town, 18 Feb 1907, N.L.Britton & C.F.Millspaugh 5427 (F, NY);
- coastal coppice, Cape Eleuthera, 18 May 1975, D.S.Correll & S.R.Hill 45284 (F, GH, FTG, MO, NY);
- 1.3 miles NE of The Current, 23 Jul 1969, G.R.Proctor 30948 (IJ).
Grand Bahama Island:
- Settlers Way, NE of Freeport, 18 Mar 1971, D.F.Austin & E.V.Conroy 4599 (FTG, NY);
- edge of Freeport Hammock off Coral Road, 25 May 1975, D.S.Correll, J.Popenoe & P.H.Fluck 45440 (F, FTG, NY);
- Rand Memorial Park Nature Center Preserve, 1.5 miles from Freeport along Settlers Way, 31 Mar 1969, W.T.Gillis 7748 (A, FTG, MO).
- W of Snake Cay, 15 Mar 1975, D.S.Correll & F.G.Meyer 44668 (F, FTG, NY).
- between Horse Pond and Matthew Town, 31 Jul 1975, D.S.Correll 45827 (F, FTG MO, NY);
- 7 Mar 1962, H.F.Dunbar 112 (A);
- 7 Feb 1963, H.F.Dunbar 208 (A);
- Matthew Town to Horse Pond in broken limestone, 16 Feb 1973, W.T.Gillis & G.R.Proctor 11710 (A);
- Whiteland, Fenados, 28 Oct 1904, G.V.Nash & N.Taylor 1347 (NY);
- Whiteland, Fenados, 28 Oct 1904, G.V.Nash & N.Taylor 1350 (F, NY);
- Whiteland near Lantern Head Creek, 3 Nov 1904, G.V.Nash & N.Taylor 1420 (NY).
- Moujean Harbour area, 17 Jul 1976, D.S.Correll 47364 (FTG, IJ, NY);
- West End, 21 Dec 1907, P.Wilson 7777 (F, GH, NY).
- Cove, S side, 7-17 Dec 1905, L.J.K.Brace 4021 (F, NY, US);
- Fortune Island (now Long Cay), 2 Jul 1880, L.J.K.Brace 449 (NY);
- coppice along road between boat landing and Long Cay village, 7 Jun 1977, D.S.Correll & G.R.Proctor 48812 (FTG, IJ, NY, US).
- coppice near Lower Bogue, along trail to The Current, 8 Apr 1978, D.S.Correll, H.B.Correll & J.Popenoe 49576 (FTG IJ, MO, NY).
- Port Nelson, 4 Dec 1905, L.J.K.Brace 3933 (F, NY);
- along trail from Port Nelson to E side of Port Nelson Salt Pond, 17 Feb 1976, D.S.Correll & D.C.Wasshausen 46832 (F, FTG, GH, MO, NY, US);
- Cottonfield Point, top of coral ridge above beach, 21 Mar 1966, W.T.Gillis 6242 (A);
- border of path leading NW from Cottonfield Point, 22 Mar 1966, W.T.Gillis 6273 (A);
- E of Port Nelson along path to Sumner Point, near hill at end of path, 7 Mar 1976, W.T.Gillis 13032 (IJ).
San Salvador Island:
- trail to Granny Lake, in open thicket, E side of Island, 14 Jun 1978, R.R.Smith, E.Horgan & N.Romansky 4903 (FTG).
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS:
- rocky headland adjacent to Good's Hill, SE corner of island, 31 Mar 1978, W.T.Gillis 14459 (GH).
- beach coppice near Gun Hill, 20 Dec 1975, D.S.Correll 46560 (F, FTG, NY);
- Waterloo and vicinity, 20 Feb-24 Mar 1911, C.F.Millspaugh & C.M.Millspaugh 9025 (F, NY);
- 27 Aug-1 Sep 1905, G.V.Nash & N.Taylor 3775 (F, NY).
Middle (Grand) Caicos:
- pineland E of Conch Bar airstrip, 3.5 miles ESE of Conch Bar, 14 Jun 1974, W.T.Gillis & G.R.Proctor 12331 (A, IJ).
- sandy soil between dunes, 3 Mar 1911, C.F.Millspaugh & C.M.Millspaugh 9204 (F, NY).
- dry thicket, 26 Sep 1973, R.G.Anderson 45 (A, FLAS);
- NE side, 26 Aug 1974, D.S.Correll 43193 (FLAS, FTG);
- E of airstrip in open scrubland, 23 Feb 1973, W.T.Gillis 11830 (A);
- stable sandy flats, scrubland behind dunes, 24 Jan 1993, P.H.Raven 28203 (MO);
- sandy flats N of Meredian Lodge, 27 Jan 1993, P.H.Raven 28273 (MO).
- dune coppice, Turtle Cove, 14 Dec 1975, D.S.Correll 46353 (F, FTG MO, NY);
- coastal coppice near the Bight, 24 Jun 1990, B.A.Neis 164 (FTG).
- rocky limestone coast S of Cockburn Harbour, 21 Apr 1971, D.Burch 4227 (MO, NY);
- ridge running between Cockburn Harbour and airport, 11 Feb 1978, D.S.Correll 49450 (FTG);
- vicinity of Cockburn Harbour, 17 Jun 1954, G.R.Proctor 8835 (A, IJ);
- G.R.Proctor 17496 (A);
- 14-16 Dec 1907, P.Wilson 7591 (F, GH, NY).
- NE of Company Point along N coast with thatch palm, 3 April 1975, W.T.Gillis 12404 (A, IJ, MO).