One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in South Asia) a tropical acacia introduced from Africa, used as a source of fuel, gum arabic, and (formerly) tannin.
Acacia nilotica, family Leguminosae
- ‘During the Ahmedabad action, Gandhi wrote leaflets to his followers, the mill workers, every day, and every evening he would gather them around him ‘under the famous babul tree on the banks of the Sabarmati outside the Shahpur gate.’’
- ‘The trees that are said to have the worst litter are the Persian lilac and babul.’
- ‘While babul is actually an evergreen, it produces fresh foliage every spring and so is classified with mesquite as deciduous.’
Early 19th century: from Hindi babūl.
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