Religious, medicinal: pods
Acacia concinna (Willd.) de Cand. Som poi
Family: Leguminosae, Mimosoideae
Synonyms: A. sinuata (Lour.) Merr., A. habbasoides Bojer, A. rugata Buch.-Ham. ex Benth., A. polycephala DC., Mimosa concinna Willd., M. sinuata Lour., M. rugata Lam.
Other names: Local names: phak som poi luang. Thai: som poi, som khon. Vietnamese: cai dao pap, pom. Cambodian: banal saot, bay damnaeb, ayak. English: Shikakai, Chikakai, soap pod, piquant sappan, sappan, soap-pod wattle.
Use: Shoots are edible, acidic and used in soups or curries. An infusion of the leaves is used in malarial fever.
Dried pods in scented water are used for ablution during water festival and new years celebration, to release bad spirits from the body (poi = to release). Also applied to remove dandruff or as a detergent, sometimes sold as soapnut powder. An ointment, prepared from grounded pods is good to treat skin diseases. A decoction of the pods relieves gastric distress and acts as a purgative, in some cases utilised for poisoning fish.
Active ingredients: The bark contains saponin. Pods contain sugars: glucose, arabinose and rhamnose. The leaves contain oxalic, citric, succinic acids and vitamin C, a range of alkaloids, tannins, amino-acids and proteins.
Conservation status: Not threatened.
Processing: Pods are dried, and steeped in water when used.
Description: Woody climber, scandent shrub or rarely a low tree. Branchlets spiny, tomentose like. Leaves bipinnate, 6-16 cm long, 4-10 pairs of pinnae; leaflets (wrinkled when dry) 10-35 pairs per pinna, opposite, 3.5-13.5 by 0.8-4.8 mm, narrowly oblong, bent forwards, margin ciliate. Flowers, to 4 mm long, in yellow, globose, axillary heads. Pods, 10-15 by 1.7-2.7 cm, oblong, brown, thick and fleshy, wrinkled and notched when dry, often falling apart in 1 seeded segments. In a pod 6-10 blackish seeds, 6.5-11 by 4.5-8 mm, elliptic, irregularly shaped.
Distribution & Ecology: Found allover Asia. In scrubs, clearings, dry forest types.
Literature: FGBEFP03, MOD, FT4(2), CLV19, PFMT90, FHH99, NPI24.