The air of southern cities and villages at the time of flowering of white acacia is filled with its aroma, which marks the arrival of a generous summer season. This tree was sung in ancient romances, in many songs, did not ignore him in modern works of art. The aroma of acacia is far away blown by the fields. Its nectar irresistibly attracts bees. In a flowering acacia planting on an area of one hectare, they collect more than 1,500 kilograms of honey, and from an average-sized tree they can collect about 8 kilograms.
Fresh honey from white acacia has an excellent taste, healing properties, a delicate smell. It is almost colorless and surprisingly transparent - in a honeycomb or to the top of a poured glass vessel it can not always be seen. Acacia honey retains its liquid state for a long time, and even if it crystallizes, it does not lose its nutritional qualities.
White acacia is the most common tree in the south of our country. It reigns supreme in the steppe part of Ukraine, in the Kuban, in Moldova. It is impossible to imagine Chisinau and Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk and Rostov, Voroshilovgrad, Donetsk, Krasnodar and many other cities of our south without white acacia. But the most amazing thing is that some 200 years ago she was not here at all. Now only specialists know that white acacia was brought to us from North America, where it grows in vast natural forests.
According to botanists, acacia was one of the first trees brought from the New World to Europe. The gardener of Louis XIII, Vespasian Robin, who traveled across America, took her out of Virginia.
Karl Linney, who developed the classification system of the plant world in the first half of the 18th century, gave the genus, to which white acacia is attributed, in honor of Robin the scientific Latin name robinia. Later, botanists began to call white acacia also false acacia, in contrast to the numerous species of the genus true acacia, distributed mainly in tropical countries.
The first tree, which Robin himself planted in 1635 in Paris in the Botanical Garden of the French Academy of Sciences, has been preserved as a kind of historical monument to this day. Now white acacia has spread widely, not only in our country, but also growing on all continents of the Earth, excluding Antarctica. Not a single breed, except perhaps our birch, can be compared with it in its ability to quickly inhabit new territories. True, the “method” of developing new places is her own: birch generously scatters seeds, and acacia conquers living space with root offspring.
White acacia is not in last place and in seed productivity - it gives very abundant seed yields. Foresters say that more than 200 thousand acacia seedlings can be grown from seeds collected only during one year from the tree average in size and age. Nevertheless, under natural conditions, white acacia almost never renews by seed, the shell is very hard and dense in its seeds. Therefore, foresters before sowing several times scald its seeds with boiling water.
Our white acacia was first planted at the beginning of the 19th century in the garden of A.K. Razumovsky near Odessa, from where it was soon borrowed by the Odessa Botanical Garden. Around the same time, white acacia seeds were prescribed directly from North America by Vasily Nazarovich Karazin, founder of Kharkov University. In Odessa, Kiev and the Kharkiv region, the oldest acacias in our country grow, whose age is much more than 100 years old, and even experts are astonished at their size. One of these old-timer trees grows in the Botanical Garden of Kiev University.
Preserved in Ukraine and commemorative trees of this exotic breed. One of them is especially dear to admirers of the great kobzar - Taras Shevchenko. In Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky near the house of a great friend of the poet, doctor Kozachkovsky, two old acacias grow, whose trunks are closely intertwined. At one time, Shevchenko and Kozachkovsky planted two acacia seedlings in one hole, and the stems firmly twisted. There is a tradition that, after finishing the landing, Shevchenko shook hands with Kozachkovsky and said: “Let both Russian and Ukrainian people fraternize, like our trees”
- S. I. Ivchenko - A book about trees