Acacia erioloba, the camel thorn tree, is anything from a 2 m spiny shrub to a large umbrella-shaped tree. The overall distribution area comprises much variety in growing conditions for the camel thorn and its cohabitants to contend with. The different, often harsh settings found within its large natural habitat led to a range of survival solutions in this tree. The distribution area ranges geographically across the western arid parts of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and parts of Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The bark of Acacia erioloba is grey to blackish brown and deeply furrowed when mature, red-brown when young. The bipinnate (twice divided) leaves have up to five pairs of pinna with veins protruding on the lower surface. The thorns are straight and sturdy; hard to deal with at close quarters. They are white or brown in colour and often have a characteristic swelling at the base. The flowers are bright yellow spherical and fluffy in form in which the stamens are the most prominent part. The flowers are sweetly scented. Flowering occurs in winter and spring. The seed pod which follows is stout and broad, often with a distinct curve along its length. It is covered in velvety short hairs that are light in colour. These pods are sought after fodder to livestock and game (Coates Palgrave, 2002; www.plantzafrica.com).