Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thorn tree - Maree

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

There are few more striking symbols of Africa than a thorn tree - its gnarled branches, graceful form, jagged thorns and abundant blooms, in many ways reflecting the paradoxes of the continent.

This Umbrella Thorn (Acacia tortilis) stands in one corner of my garden and offers a safe haven for many birds who seek a safe place to nest. It's still fairly young, about 5 years old, and I'm looking forward to a full-blown specimen in a couple of years' time.

Umbrella Thorn - Acacia tortilis
The Umbrella Thorn Acacia grows in Africa. There are over 700 species of the Acacia in Africa. Umbrella Thorn Acacia is one of the most recognizable trees of the African savanna. It grows in sand dunes and rocky grounds of Africa's grasslands. Acacias grow in areas with annual rainfall as low as 4cm. This tree can survive in 50°C temperatures during the day, and freezing temperatures at nights. The savanna that the Acacias live in is hot and dry in the respective summer of the Southern Hemisphere although at night the temperature can go below -18°C. During the winter months the savanna gets a lot of rain. The Umbrella Thorn grows up to 20 meters high and has a spreading, flat-tapped crown that gives it its name. (Info from Wikipedia)

A fully grown Umbrella Thorn in the South African bushveld.


  1. ...that is one of the most recognizable trees! I always wondered what it was. Now I know. Thanks for the info, and your rendition is beautiful.

  2. Thank you Kelly! The Umbrella Thorn is most definitely a distinctive tree and when you drive through the bushveld where they occur, you also see a lot of Giraffe who browse the highest, tender tips of these trees.


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