Acacia, the False, or Robinia Pseudo-Acacia, L. is a native of North America, and the northern parts of Asia. This beautiful and valuable tree flourishes best in sandy soils, mixed with light black earth, especially in the vicinity of brooks, springs, or rivers ; where it grows with uncommon rapidity. It may be propagated by setting the seeds ; and, when it is once introduced, numerous plants may be obtained, by cutting its roots near the surface of the ground.
The leaves and tender shoots of the False Acacia are eagerly eaten by cattle, particularly by sheep; and they also afford a wholesome fodder. Being very hardy, this tree retains its verdure during the severest winters. As the roots extend rapidly along the surface of the earth, and shoot up numerous suckers, the Acacia may be advantageously planted on the banks of rivers, for consolidating and securing the soil from the encroachments of the current: farther, its wood is eminently adapted to shipbuilding ; and, though inferior in point of durability to the oak, it is perhaps preferable to any other timber for barges, and similar vessels of a small size.
The sweet and succulent roots of the False Acacia are well calculated for fattening hogs ; and the leguminous seeds, after being divested of their acrid taste, by infusing them in different waters, and afterwards ground into meal, are by the Tongusian Tartars converted into a wholesome bread : these seeds are also eagerly eaten by poultry, which may thus be speedily fattened.
It has been ascertained by experiments, that the leaves of this tree, when prepared in the same manner as indigo, may with great advantage be substituted for that expensive dyeing drug. The foliage of the smaller variety of the False Acacia, however, is reputed to be better adapted for such purpose : its culture corresponds with that above stated; and it certainly merits to be more generally cultivated in ornamental shrubberies, where it thrives rapidly, and produces elegant odoriferous yellow flowers, which abundantly supply bees with honey. - The seeds of both varieties also afford a large proportion of expressed oil. - It deserves to be noticed, that the yellowish wood of these trees, though hard and tough, is very brittle while the plants are young, and they ought, therefore, in exposed situations, to be supported by stakes. Lastly, it is remarkable, that no part of the Acacia is subject to the depredations of vermin or insects. - Dr. Medicus, a prolific, though esteemed German author, has published several volumes on the culture and useful properties of the Acacia.