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Acacia karroo

Acacia karroo

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. karroo
Binomial name
Acacia karroo

Native Range of Acacia karroo
  • Acacia campbellii Arn.
  • Acacia dekindtiana A. Chev.
  • Acacia eburnea sensu auct.
  • Acacia horrida sensu auct.
  • Acacia inconflagrabilis Gerstner
  • Acacia karoo Hayne
  • Acacia minutifolia Ragup.
  • Acacia natalitia E. Mey.
  • Acacia pseudowightii Thoth.
  • Acacia roxburghii Wight & Arn.
  • Mimosa eburnea L. f.[1]

Acacia karroo also known as the Sweet Thorn, is a species of Acacia, native to southern Africa from southern Angola east to Mozambique, and south to South Africa.[2]

It is a shrub or small to medium-sized tree which grows to height of 12m.[3] It is difficult to tell apart from Acacia nilotica subsp. adstringens without examining the seed pods. It is not listed as being a threatened species.[1]

Common names in various languages include Cape Gum, Cassie, Piquants Blancs, Cassie Piquants Blancs, Cockspur Thorn, Deo-Babool, Doorn Boom, Kaludai, Karroo Thorn, Kikar, Mormati, Pahari Kikar, Pahari Kikar and Udai Vel.[1]



It is a tree of open woodland and wooded grassland. It grows to its greatest size when rainfall of 800-900mm is received but can grow and even thrive in very dry conditions such as the Karroo region of western South Africa. The requirement here is for deep soils that allow its roots to spread. Everywhere in its range, however, the tree is easily recognised by its distinctive long white paired thorns and coffee coloured bark, both of which are very attractive. In the tropics it shows little variation but at the southern end of its range it becomes more variable in appearance.


A. karoo is used for chemical products, forage, domestic uses, environmental management, fibre, food, drink, and wood. It is widely cultivated in Asia, Australia, the Mediterranean region, India and the Indian Ocean area.[1] The large thorns mean that the tree must be approached, and the branches handled, carefully.


An edible gum seeps from cracks in the tree's bark. The gum can be used to manufacture candy and it used to have economic importance as "Cape Gum". In dry areas, the tree's presence is a sign of water, both above and underground. [4]

Forage and fodder

  The tree is especially useful as forage and fodder for domestic and wild animals. Apparently, there is no risk of poisoning from it. Goats seem to like A. karoo better than cattle.[5] The small pom-pom shaped yellow flowers are attractive in mid-summer. The flowers make it a very good source of forage for honey bees; honey from it has a pleasant taste.

Wood and bark

A. karroo is an excellent source of firewood and charcoal.[5] The heartwood has a density of about 800 kg/m³. A tough rope can be made from the inside bark of the tree.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d ILDIS LegumeWeb: Acacia karroo
  2. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Acacia karroo
  3. ^ Department of the Environment and Heritage and the CRC for Australian Weed Management, 2003
  4. ^ Acacia Karoo PlanzAfrica
  5. ^ a b World AgroForestry Centre
  6. ^ FAO
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Acacia_karroo". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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