Senegalia modesta/acacia modesta is a species of plant commonly found in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. S. modesta is a perennial tree and formerly, it was classified as Acacia modesta. The plant is drought tolerant. Senegalia modesta (commonly called phulai in Pakistan, phalāhī پھلاہی (Punjabi) in India) is a species of plant commonly found in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. S. modesta is a perennial tree and formerly, it was classified as Acacia modesta. The plant is drought tolerant. S. modesta`s tree grow in medium size (3 to almost 5 meters) deciduous form with rough surfaced, brown or greenish grey bark, leaflets as (3-5 pairs), cream colored inflorescence (in April–May or July–August) in the form of pedunculate spike, pods as stipitate having 3-5 seeds inside.
Acacia modesta, commonly known as Phulai, is a member of the family Fabaceae (also called Leguminosae) and sub-family Mimosaceae. It is a deciduous, slow-growing small tree with thorny young shoots and dark brown and black wood. In natural forests, the trees have a 30-year felling cycle and 60-year rotation period on reaching 7 m height and 20 cm in diameter. This drought-tolerant tree is typically found in Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan, where it can grow in areas with yearly rainfall between 250 and 1300 mm. Well adapted to semi-arid and sub-humid regions, Acacia modesta prefers temperatures ranging from -5°C to 40°C and exhibits some resistance to frost.
In August, 2018 thousands of phulai trees were planted during the two-day tree plantation for reforestation campaign in Kingyar Gali, District Buner, Khyber Pakhtunkhaw Pakistan.
The tree produces a gum in the form of pale yellow small tears of mucilage. This gum (also called gum arabic) is used for emulsification and stabilizing agent in food, cosmetic, textile and pharmaceutical industries.
The hard wood of tree is also source of fuel.
In drylands, Acacia modesta is an important forage species.
Tender leaves and twigs, in particular, have a high nutritional value and palatability and are used as fodder for goats and camels.
With around 16% protein levels, young shoots are typically used to supplement grass during the dry season.
For livestock, this mixture is ideal to improve nutrient utilization and increase weight gain.
The plant is also popular in herbal medicines, including those for the treatment of muscular conditions, back pain, and stomach problems.
Other uses include fuel, wood, apiculture, gum, and soil conservation.