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Vachellia tortilis (Acacia tortilis)

Umbrella Thorn

Medicinal bark, edible gum, firewood, grazed.
SA Tree No: 
188
Plant Type: 
General Size: 
Flowering time: 
Flowering Colour: 
Shrub Size: 
Medium
Long Description: 
It is a most classically shaped Acacia and is the well known emblem of one of our commercial banks and was the subject of many of Pierneef's paintings. The flat top droops slightly at the edge, producing an umbrella shape. It has both hooked and straight thorns.The flowers are white and sometimes so profuse that the tree appears blanketed in snow. The flowers open in summer. It makes a striking specimen and is highly sought after for bonsai. It requires full sun and survives drought and frost. It grows well in any soil even in clay soil although it is an indicator in the wild of good soil and grasses for grazing. It stabilizes the soil. The bark is used medically. It attracts birds and butterflies. The leaves are browsed by elephant, giraffe, eland, waterbuck, kudu, gemsbok, nyala, springbok, bushbuck, impala, duiker and giraffe while the pods are enjoyed by monkeys, baboons and parrots. The gum is edible.It is slow growing but the wood is used for fuel. It is planted to stabilize the soil as it has an extensive root system. Named for Rev George Harvey Vachel (1798-1839) a British priest and plant collector. He was chaplain to the British East India company in China where he collected plants.
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