Acacia erioloba

Acacia erioloba

Common Names

False Lightening Bush, Camel Thorn (english)
Valsbliksembos, Kameeldoring (afrikaans)
umbheza (zulu)
umgqata (xhosa)

Taxonomy

Family FABACEAE
Genus Acacia
Species erioloba
SA Plant Number 168
Basionym Acacia erioloba

Description

Acacia erioloba (= Vachellia erioloba) is a very hardy, beautiful Thorn Tree from South Africa that is slow growing but tolerates harsh growing conditions. It has typical fine, feathery leaves and straight white spines. The bark is deeply furrowed and goes very dark to almost black with age. It bears sweetly scented, bright yellow ball-like flowers from July to December. The half-moon shaped pods are woody, and persist on the tree. Acacia erioloba grows in desert and semi-desert areas and offers a host of opportunities for nesting and feeding for the many birds and insects that they attract. The half-moon shaped silvery grey pods are highly nutritious. They sustain a number of animal species that feed on them, including Rhino, Elephant, Gemsbok and Eland. Giraffe browse on the leaves and flowers.

Kameeldoring trees prefer sandy well-drained soil as their roots can reach as deep as 60m in search of water.

It has many traditional and medicinal uses and as the pods don’t split, they can be used in many crafts. This is a protected tree that makes a striking specimen tree in the garden and is used as a street tree in Mokopane (Potgietersrus). A valuable fodder tree in very dry areas.

Plant in full sun in very well drained, sandy soil and don't overwater.

Size: Up to 10m

Wildlife

Fodder tree for game:

Giraffe browse on the leaves and flowers. Baboons eat young pods. Rhino, Elephant, Gemsbok and Eland eat the mature pods, both from the tree and those that fall to the ground.

Uses

Culinary:
  • The hard-coated seeds have been ground to use as a coffee substitute.
  • The good quality gum (known as Cape Gum) is edible.
Hardwood firewood:

The hard wood (two toned with a reddish, very hard centre) is prized as fuel for fire. The wood is resistant to termites and borer.

Landscaping:
  • Striking specimen tree for drier gardens.
  • Makes a good street tree for arid areas, although it is slow growing.

Distribution

Limpopo, Northern Cape

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