From seed to bonsai

in 10 years

Camel thorns born in Antwerp

Apr 14, 2015 | Life

South African "Camel Thorn"

Vachellia erioloba


Verwys na kameelperde die hoë blare wat buite die bereik van kleiner diere is vreet

Protected in southern Africa

Grows up to 17 metres high

Long roots looking for water

Beautiful as a bonsai tree

Slow-growing, hard to drought

And fairly frost-resistant

Full-grown Camel Thorn

And a giraffe getting hungry

Produces ear-shaped pods

Favoured by herbivores and cattle

Considered to be the tree of life

By the San Tribe of the Kalahari

After 10 years

Yellow flowers start to grow

Seeds can be roasted

And used as a substitute for coffee beans

Seeds for sale

€1,00 for 10

Interesting facts about the camel thorn

Can reach from 1,98 m (6.5 ft) (shrub) to 17 m (56 ft) (tree) in height.

Has drooping branches that twist and turn and create umbrella-shaped crown.

Has strong root system that can absorb water from a depth of 60 m (197 ft).

Has large, bipinnate leaves composed of 2 to 5 leaflets. Green leaves remain on the tree during the most part of the year. Pair of sharp thorns at the base of leaves provides protection against hungry herbivores.

Develops round, yellow flowers from winter to summer. Tree starts to produce flowers 10 years after planting. Flowers emit sweet aroma that attracts insects responsible for the pollination.

Fruit is light grey, cylindrical or crescent-shaped seedpod. It has velvety texture thanks to fine hairs on the surface. Seed are lens-shaped.

Ground pods are used in human diet in the form of porridge. Roasted seed are used as a substitute for coffee.

Rhino, eland, kudu and elephants collect pods from the ground. Pods are also important source of food for the livestock.

Giraffes eat fruit and leaves directly from the tree. They have a specially designed tongue that prevents injuries from thorns. In Afrikaans language, giraffe is also known as “camel-horse/kameelperd”, hence the name “camel thorn”.

Seed is covered with tough, protective membrane. It passes through intestines of herbivores undamaged and often germinates from their dung. Seed retain ability to germinate even after 50 years of dormancy.

Dense crown provides shade and serves as shelter for birds, spiders, rodents, insects and lizards. Leopards often leave scratch marks (visible scars) on its bark.

Silk moth lays eggs on the tree and serves as important source of silk for the local communities.

Dark reddish-brown wood is used in the manufacture of fence posts, ax handles, houses and as a firewood.

Dried pods are used in treatment of ear infections, bark in treatment of diarrhea and headache, root in treatment of toothache, cough and tuberculosis. Gum is used in treatment of influenza.

Can survive from 250 to 300 years in the wild.

» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on April 14, 2015