Vachellia erioloba

Accession Count: 2
Common Name: Giraffe Thorn
Family Name: Fabaceae
Botanical Name: Vachellia erioloba
Synonyms:
Botanical Synonyms: Acacia erioloba
Family Synonyms: Leguminosae
Sub Species:
Variety:
Forma:
Cultivar:
Characteristics: Acacia erioloba is an evergreen tree that ranges from seven to 20 feet tall. The branches are a shiny reddish-brown when in adolescences. When they mature the bark is grey to blackish-brown and deeply furrowed. The branches are heavily protected by 3 inch spines that have large bases. The leaves are twice divided and have two to five pairs of pinnae per leaf. The leafs come in eighth to 18 leaflets. In the winter the tree produces brilliant yellow puff-ball shaped flowers after ten years of growth.They are in bloom till summer. Then ill the flowers produce a fruit that has an arrange of variable shapes. They can be small and cylindrical to large flat, thick, semicircular or half-moon shaped pods. The pods do not open till they fall to the grown in winter. The seeds are thick, robust and lens-shaped (3).
Compound: Vac eri
Geographic Origin: Africa
Ecozone Origin: Neotropic
Biome Origin:
Natural History: The giraffe thorn is native to Southern Africa. The distribution of the Vachellia erioloba is inland in the western half of Africa, from Northern Cape to Limpopo Province. This species also extends to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and central Africa (3). This plant is highly invasive and with predicted climate indicates that this species could massively spread inland of northern Australia (3).
Cultivation Notes: A. erioloba is a spreading tree that requires a lot of space, and full sunlight. It is an excellent shade tree. Older trees will develop a spreading, drooping appearance, and this plant may become deciduous during drought conditions. This tree can be easily propagated by seed. Seeds can be digested, scrapped, boiled and soaked to weaken the protective waterproof seed coating. Germination can take up to six weeks from seed (3).
Ethnobotany: This plant is utilized by people for medicine, survival and but not commonly used for landscaping. The dried powder pods can be used to treat ear infection. The gum is used to treat gonorrhea and by pulverizing the burned bark can be used to treat headaches. The roots can treat tooth aches. Lastly, to treat tuberculosis the root is boiled and the infusion is gargled by the patient. Other uses are bush men make quivers from the bark and roasting the seeds to use as a substitute for coffee (3).  

Height: 20 - 50 feet
Width: 50 - 100 feet
Growth Rate: Moderate Growing
Grow Season: Spring
Flower Season: Winter
Color: Yellow
Function: Shade
Spread: Spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Low water Use

Citations:
  1. Timberlake, Jonathan, et al. Field Guide to the Acacias of Zimbabwe. CBC Publishing, 1999.
  2. Johnson, Matthew. Desert Legume Program. Personal Communication.
  3. pza.sanbi.org. Retrieved February 12, 2019.

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Vachellia erioloba