Acacia tortilis

Botanical Name: Acacia (Vachellia) tortilis

Sub Species Name: spirocarpa

Common Name: Umbrella Thorn, Mukoka, Mzunga, Mukoka

Plant Family: Fabaceae (Legume Family) Mimosoideae

Growth Form, Habitat and Distribution: A medium-sized semi-deciduous tree with angled lateral branching giving a flattish but dense, umbrella crown. Occurs at low altitudes across northern, eastern, central and southern Zambia usually in savannah, Munga and Mopane woodland. The bark is dark brown to grey-black deeply fissured and scaly, vicious thorns are paired and may be long and slender (up to 9cm) or short and hooked. The tree flowers from November to January, lots of fragrant, small, white or creamy loose balls.  The pods are small, pale brown papery, characteristically twisted and contorted (4 to 13cm), ripening March to June or later, dropping to release 14 rounded, brown seeds (5mm) with a horseshoe-shaped areole

Size: Height up to 18m, usually smaller, spread 6 to 15m

Uses: Drought-tolerant species with leaves and pods browsed widely by wildlife. The bark provides good tanin.