Acacia karroo

Botanical Name: Acacia karroo Hayne

Synonym:  Acacia natalitia (E.Meyer)

Common Name:  Sweet thorn

Plant Family: Fabaceae

Origin: Southern Africa

References: Coates Palgrave p 284, Timberlake p.23-24, Venter,

222. SA No. 172, Zimb. No. 208

Description:  A. karroo is an evergreen medium sized tree, with dark brown rough bark. Thorns are white elongated, severe, straight and paired with dark tips. Young branches are reddish brown.

Features of Particular Interest: Flowers are deep golden-yellow, sweetly scented balls. Fruits are sickle shaped slender dehiscent (splitting when dry) pods.

Height and Spread: Up to 15m, 3-6m spread.


Soil and Moisture:  Adaptable to wide range of soil types and climatic conditions.

Aspect: Plant in full sun.

HardinessA. karroo is frost and drought resistant.

Maintenance and PruningA. karroo grows fast up to 1 m per year.

Propagation: Grows easily from seed.

Problems and Drawbacks: Invasive root system unsuitable for near paving or roads.

Use and Associated PlantingA. karroo is a good fodder tree and attracts larvae of many different butterflies. Excellent for bee farmers as source of pollen and nectar. Flowers attract mass of insects and insect eating birds, a must for the bird garden. Good as wind-break, also stunning specimen tree with its dark brown bark, dense foliage and golden flowers.

Notes: A protected tree in some provinces of SA. Good indicator of water.