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….