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Acacia mellifera

Photo of the whole Black Thorn tree

Black Thorn

Acacia mellifera is often multi-stemmed

Swaarthaak

Mellifera means “honey bearing”

Acacia mellifera

Image of flowers and thorns

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Acacia mellifera - Black Thorn - Swaarthaak

Home > Safari Planner  > Trees  > Acacia mellifera

The Acacia mellifera is generally a low branched tree that can be multi-stemmed. Leaves bipinnately compound (twice divided) Spines present, at least some, if not all recurved.

The word Acacia comes from Acantha which means Thorn
The species name: Mellifera means “honey bearing” and refers to the flowers.

Flowers: Spring

Features of the Black Thorn (Swaarthaak) or Acacia mellifera

  • The black thorn acacia grows in large uniform groups especially in disturbed and overgrazed areas.
  • Small low branching tree, dense tangled canopy.
  • Hooked thorns are black
  • Creamy white flower – balls cover the tree in spring before the leaves appear.

Pods: Flat bean pods are papery, dehiscent.

Animals uses for the Acacia mellifera

  • Valuable fodder tree on game and cattle farms
  • The leaves, young branchlets and pods are very nutritious containing a high percentage of protein.
  • Browsed by Black Rhino, Giraffe, Eland, Kudu and many others.
  • Flowers eaten by Kudu

 

Human uses for the Black Thorn or Swaarthaak

  • Wood used for axe and pick handles.
  • Heartwood is termite and borer proof, larger stems therefore make excellent fencing posts
  • Sap was mixed with a powdered grub for use on Khoisan poison arrows.
  • Gum is edible and sometimes mixed with clay to make floors.
  • Extractions made from roots used for stomach pains and to treat gonorrhoea.
  • Extracts from roots and leaves used to treat colds, eye inflammation, diarrhoea and bleeding.

 

Notes:

  • The Black Tharon can form impenetrable thickets
  • Anti biosis.
  • Legumes.
  • Bush splits very early, often splits when it dies.
  • The Acacia mellifera does not live long (about 10 years.)

 

 

 

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