ACACIA ERIOLOBA the Camel Thorn tree of Western South Africa. The tree is found in a small town called Kathu, the mining town of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. The town was built in a forest of these trees and none have been removed without permission from the Environmental Conservation Department. The tree is only found in South Anglo, Namibia, Botswana, Western Zimbabwe and Northern province of RSA.
The specie first gained its protected status in 1941, which is still in place today.
The law under section 12 of Act No. 84 of 1998 states that if a tree species is declared protected, “No person may (a) cut, disturb, damage, destroy or remove any protected tree; or (b) collect, remove, transport, export, purchase, sell, donate or in any other manner acquire or dispose of any protected tree, except under a licence granted by the Minister.”
The act does not distinguish between dead and live trees, so even removal of a dead specimens is illegal without a permit.
The Sishen Golf Club meanders through the forest and is a stunning example of the environment and progress working hand in hand. Here are photos of the tree.
The branches of the tree show a slow growth pattern and have interesting twists and turn. The bark also shows magnificent patterns and differs from tree to tree. The seed pods are eaten by the Giraffe that easily reaches the higher branches where it can also feed off the leaves. The pods when fallen off the tree are eaten by Rhino, Eland, Elephant, Gemsbok and Kudu. The seeds within the pods are so strong they can with stand the chewing of the animals and pass through where they are often found germinating in the dung of these animals….
The tree does have one parasite that can penetrate the hard seed and that is the Bruchid beetle. Bruchid larval infestation begins early in seed development, before maturation and dispersal. Larvae develop inside seeds, pupating and emerging as adults, unless seeds are destroyed or consumed by mammals. Below are photos of a seed that has been infested as can be seen by the small holes in the pod, as well as a seed where the larva has already vacated its developing spot….
I see there is a big advert on the web advertising Camelthorn braaiwood in SA. Clam to have permits. If so, where do they get permits for truckloads of wood?
The Setswana name for this tree is the Mocala tree. A game reserve hereby Kimberley in the Northern Cape is called after this tree, the Mocala game reserve. It is a stunning place. Ernest
Very interesting, especially since I have a B.S. in Forestry.
it is a fascinating tree, and I believe extremely hard wood.. would love to see a piece of furniture made from it, but restrictions ensure that never happens…
When I took wood shop in high school, I made a table out of Texas Mesquite. Never again. That was the hardest wood I’d ever tried to work with. So stupid me made two end tables out of Texas Mesquite during my junior year in college. That was it. Three strikes and Texas Mesquite was out!
Made the same mistake a few times just slower to realise before I started to work rather in softer woods…
My dad made a dinner set with it before it became protected, very nice
Thanks callie for the look in and comment… I bet it is a thing of beauty…
Those trees are gorgeous. I can see people shapes in them and faces. Extraordinary.
Thanks for the visit.. they are magnificent trees and I wish I could have done them more justice…
I just love the twists and turns!! They’re dancing!
I spent a lot of time trying to find the right angle to shoot the photos… mtlawleyshire would have done so much better…
WOW! This is great post dear Rob, you know I love trees and these are very interesting for me. Thank you, the photographs are amazing… Love, nia
what an absolutely stunning looking tree! Makes me want to get my sketching pen out…
Thank you 🙂
I wish you where here to photo these trees, you would do so much more for them than what I can… the forest of the trees is so hard to depict, and there are so many differing shapes your natural eye for trees would have given the trees so much more credit…
ooo – that’s a compliment & I thank you with a delighted smile. But you did pretty well, you know 🙂
You won’t believe how I walked around those trees trying to picture how you would take the shot.. those watching me must have thought I’d lost it…
that’s exactly what I do 🙂 Walk, look, look, walk, keep my eyes peeled for shapes and textures & above all, light & shadow, how it looks in the frame of the screen (which has to substitute for the eye ’cause my camera doesn’t have a viewing window, just the screen), stop, consider, take in with delight, then click 🙂
A most unusual looking tree, bdt. Interesting info too. I read that the seeds have a high nutritional value, and can also be substituted for coffee beans. 😉
There are people locals that collect the seed for that very purpose, they maintain it also has a medicinal quality… my daughter-in-law and I decided, on our next visit we are going to try it out..
Love the twists and turns of this tree… glad it is protected and do hope this Bruchid Beetle parasite can be managed so as to preserve this special tree which oozes with character! ~ Have a wonderful day, and thanks for this lesson!! 🙂
Thanks so much for the look in… of all the pods I opened that had been attacked only 1 of the seed has a hole… so not sure the beetle is such a big threat… some trees have so many pods even a giraffe could not eat them all..