• 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).

Wildlife facts

  • 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.