- Scientific name: Acacia karroo
- Family: Fabaceae (pea, bean, legume)
Spiny perennial tree up to 15m tall. Red-brown bark and rounded crown. Flowers fragrant and yellow in colour. Produces pods: dry fruits with a firm exterior and hollow inside that open to release seeds (dehiscent). Isolated plants bear no fruits. Leaves composed of several similar parts (composite), spines paired. Pollinated mainly by insects attracted by the strong colour of its collections of flowers (inflorescences).
- This spiky bean tree is one of South Africa’s most beautiful and useful trees.
- The thorns were used as sewing needles and even by naturalists to mount the insects they collected. The tree has also been used for raft-making and fencing.
- The tree gets its name from the sweet gum that oozes from wounds in the bark, which can be enjoyed by humans and animals such as the lesser bushbaby.
Where it grows
Dry grassland or wooded grassland in southern Africa (Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa).
- Giraffes love to munch on the fresh tasty leaves and somehow get their tongues around the spines!
- Pollinators include beetles (Coleoptera), flies (Diptera), and moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera).
- Crown: cluster of leaves and branches at the top of trunk.
- Perennial: lives for at least two years.