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Acacia tortilis

Umbrella thorn

Garden

Wishlist

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Features

  • BloomsJanuary to May
  • Height21m
  • Spread8m to 13m
  • Speed of GrowthFast
  • Growth HabitUpright umbrella-shape
  • Flower ColourCream-white
  • Leaf ColourDark green

Description

Acacia tortilis (Umbrella thorn). Also known as Vachellia tortilis. If conditions are extremely arid, this plant grows as a small shrub. Otherwise, it can grow up to 21 metres as a large tree with the shape of an umbrella, with a flattened top. Clusters of creamy white, spherical flowers form on the old wood. The pinnate leaves are small and clustered giving a soft feathery effect. The seed pods are pale brown coils which fall to the ground and require being passed through the digestive system of animals like the Rhino, Elephant and Impala before they can germinate.

Characteristics

Woody perennial, Evergreen, Tree

Origin

Africa, Middle East.

Interest and use

The seed pods are used for food by grazing animals, as well as for shade and shelter. The wood of the tree is used for fence posts, tools and wagon wheels. The bark can be made into cordage and soaked for tannin and the gum used for glue. The tree is used to reclaim sand dunes in areas prone to desertification. The roots of the tree are also used by nomads to make temporary shelters. The wood of this tree was, according to the Old Testament, used to create the Ark of the Covenant as well as in the building of the tabernacle.

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Needs

  • LightFull sun
  • HardinessHalf hardy (min 0°C)
  • SoilWell drained, Light, Medium
  • Soil pH5.5 to 8.0
  • WaterDry

Cultivation

Drought tolerant and tolerant of very light, sandy soils, high alkalinity and sand storms. This crop has an minimum optimum growing temperature of 28C and a maximum optimum growing temperature of 36C.

Propagation

By seed which has been scarified.

Pests, diseases or disorders

Red spider mite, scale insects and mealy bug.

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