Buffalo Thorn Tree
1. The Buffalo Thorn has zig-zag branches – from this comes the belief that this tree is resistant to lightning and if often planted near houses or cattle enclosures in order to prevent lightning damage
2. This tree has one thorn pointing forward and one thorn pointing backwards – These branches are placed in the grave of tribal leader. It is said that the backward pointing thorn will take the soul of the leader, while the forward facing thorn will send it peacefully into the afterlife.
3. Seeds of the Buffalo thorn are dried and made into a refreshing drink. It can also be ground and made into a porridge
Marula Tree (Male)
The male Marula tree bears the flowers/pollen.
The powdered bark is used by pregnant women to influence the gender of the baby. If she wants to have a boy, she will use the bark from a male tree.
The inside layer of a Marula tree, called the cambium, is used as an antihistamine.
1. The monkey orange fruit is edible and a favour of all animal species. This fruit, however, is only edible when it is ripe (yellow/orange). When it is still green it contains a high number of strychnos, which is a deadly poison.
2. While this fruit is very hard, baboons will bite it open with their huge teeth, but monkeys will repeatedly hit it on the sharp edge of a rock in order to open the fruits. Antelopes and other ground species, will often scout for any fruits left over by the monkeys and baboons
3. Ornaments and musical instruments are often made from dried fruits (see monkey balls in the curio shop)
Marula Tree (female)
The female Marula tree bears the fruits.
Marula fruit is incredibly high in vitamin C, containing eight times more of it than an orange. It was an important part of local diets, so the Bantu people took it with them as they migrated through Africa. That’s why you’ll now find it in Madagascar and West Africa as well.
Marula fruits are very rich in vitamin C, and the nut is full of protein. The fruit is not only a delicacy for elephants, but also for most animals of the African savanna. Impala, kudu, nyala, baboons, warthogs and other creatures also feed on this delicious treat.
Like most fruits, marula can ferment to create alcohol. That’s just like some people use potatoes to make vodka, or apples to produce cider. The story goes that wild animals would get drunk by eating fruit that had dropped from the tree and was fermenting on the ground.
The story was so powerful that it inspired a liquor like – the famous “Amarula” cream (very tasty – similar to Bailey’s). Check out the psychedelically painted elephant on the front cover.
Weeping Wattle & Mountain Aloe
The Weeping Wattle gets its name from the spittle bug living inside its branches (usually bigger trees). The spittle bug lives on the sap of the tree. While consuming the sap of the tree it excretes water. Sometimes there are so many spittle bugs in one tree, that it forms puddles under the tree. This is a symbiotic relationship between parasite and tree, as the tree feeds the bug and in return it gets water back to the roots.
Because of the almost velvety feeling of the leaves, this tree is referred to as the Toiletpaper Tree.
This tree is easily confused with the Flame Thorn Acacia. The difference: The little thorns under the leaves of the acacia
The candalabra tree is also part of the Euphorbia family and is indigenous to this area. In Afrikaans it is known as the Naboom, and can only be found in this area. There is a town called Naboomspruit, which gets its name from these trees.
The Candelabra tree is highly poisonous. It contains a milky liquid called latex, which can kill when consumed. This latex will give you nosebleeds and headaches only from smelling it. When it comes into contact with your skin, it will badly blister your skin.
This poison is used for catching fish and also for hunting. The latex is applied on arrows, or a severed branch will be added to nests in dams. As soon as the animal dies, it will get cooked and the poison will evaporate enabling it to be edible.
Although this tree is highly poisonous, birds and monkeys eat the flowers that can sometimes be seen at the top of the branches
This is the tree that represents often the ‘Tree of Life’.
This tree gets its name from the sheep farmers. In the drier areas, these trees are often the only trees for long distances out of each other. The shepherds will then rest beneath this tree. The sheep or goats can also be seen on the top branches of these trees, where the best leaves are eaten.
The fruit of this tree is often used as substitutes for capers
3 Different aloes
1. Large aloe – Tree aloe (right side of road)
2. Small Aloe with spots on leaves – Soap Aloe/ Zebra Aloe (left side under thorn tree)
3. Aloe with large leaves – Aloe Ferox (left side under the thorn tree) Aloe ferox is also known for its detoxing effect once consumed. The bitter exudate, the sap that seeps from the plant, is accredited with having laxative properties. Additionally, it is also positioned as having immune boosting properties, and as an aid in treating viral infections.
Although each aloe has some different uses, they all have cosmetic uses. They are great in treating wounds, sunburn, skin problems as well as bites and sting on the skin.
The gel inside of the leaves can also be ingested and stomach ailments can be treated
Prickly pear fruit are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They are a healthful addition to a balanced diet and may help decrease blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol.
These plants are an invasive plant species and will, where not controlled, take over vast amount of vegetation. The inside of the leave are often eaten by baboons and as a result of this, we have many new plants growing. A new plant will grow from any part of a Prickly Pear that has fallen of the main tree.
Termites are very interesting creatures! Within one termite mound, you have several different occupations. The termites seen outside of the mound, are called the harvesters. They go out and forage for any grass seeds, plant seeds etc, that they can get. They take this back to the ‘castle’ Inside the caste, we have farmers, baby sitters, the queen and the king.
The termites inside the ‘castle’ cannot digest food by themselves. In order for them to eat anything, the harvesters eats the food first, when half digested, they regurgitate it on the shelves in the ‘pantry’.
Farmer termites then take over the tending of the food until they grow some fungi that helps break down the food even more. Only after this process can the termites inside the termite mound eat something.
You often see trees or plants grow on top of a termite mount, because of the germination of the seeds that gets tended by the termites.
Termite mounds are kept at a constant 37 °C and they will open and close the mound in order to keep that temperature.
The Buffalo Thorn gets its name from the action buffaloes take when being hunted by lion. With the tree being a messy bush with these thorns, the buffalo will reverse into the bush. This way it is protected from the back (no predator will go through the bush) and from the front it can protect itself with their horns. Buffalo has very thick skin, and does not even feel the thorns.
In Afrikaans the name of this tree is a Blinkblaar Wag-‘n-bietjie, which translates to Shiny leafed wait-a-little. This come from farmers, guides, etc getting caught in this tree and shouting, wag ‘n bietjie (wait a little) in order to get themselves unhooked from this tree.
What you see of a termite mound is only about a 3rd of the size of the mound. It goes down quite far under the surface.
Wherever a termite mound is situated, there is always a water source somewhere below the surface.
A termite mound will become inactive whenever the queen moves or dies. Termite mounds make great dens for animals such as warthogs, jackal, snakes, mongoose, porcupine, etc. Never approach a termite mound with a hole in it, as you never know what is in it.
The fruit of this tree is edible and has a vitamin c content of 40mg per 100g.
The fruit is used for making syrup, jelly, jam, wine, vinegar and are sometimes distilled to produce a strong alcoholic drink known as mampoer . This plant has medicinal value as well. It is said that powdered roots can be rubbed into incisions made in the skin over affected areas to treat rheumatism, and a decoction is used to treat abdominal pain. It is also said that an infusion of finely powdered roots and fruits has been used to cure epilepsy.
The Sweet Thorn is one of the acacia trees that has very large thorns. Thorns can grow up to 7cm long.
In different cultures, they use thorns as part of the initiation ceremony for men and sometime women as well. Thorns will be used to insert piercings, or dipped in a dye (made from charcoal or dye from trees) to apply tattoos. Since this is not very clean, it is also a test to see if the men (women) gets an infection and if they can survive that.
The Fire stick is one of the euphorbias and is therefore also poisonous. The latex of this plant will burn your eyes and can cause permanent blindness if not treated immediately. This latex will not cause you any damage to smell it, and small quantities is also acceptable on the skin. Latex from plants similar to this is used to make latex that can be found in things like gloves. This is also why some people are allergic to latex. They have more sensitive skin than others and since latex is a poisonous substance it will irritate their skin some more.
In small doses the latex can be used to treat warts, cough, asthma, ear-ache, tooth-ache and neuralgia.
The plant can also be used as raw material to produce biodiesel