Camel thorn Facts

Camel thorn Facts
Camel thorn is deciduous shrub or tree that belongs to the pea family. It can be found in Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. Camel thorn grows in deserts, savannas and woodlands. It prefers poor, sandy soil and dry areas with harsh climate. Camel thorn tolerates high temperatures during the summer and frost during the winter. Number of camel thorn trees in South Africa is drastically reduced due to overexploitation in the past. This species is protected by law today (in the South Africa).
Interesting Camel thorn Facts:
Camel thorn can reach from 6.5 feet (shrub) to 56 feet (tree) in height.
Camel thorn has drooping branches that twist and turn and create umbrella-shaped crown.
Camel thorn has strong root system that can absorb water from a depth of 197 feet.
Camel thorn has large, bipinnate leaves composed of 2 to 5 leaflets. Green leaves remain on the tree during the most part of the year. Pair of sharp thorns at the base of leaves provides protection against hungry herbivores.
Camel thorn develops round, yellow flowers from winter to summer. Tree starts to produce flowers 10 years after planting. Flowers emit sweet aroma that attracts insects responsible for the pollination.
Fruit of camel thorn is light grey, cylindrical or crescent-shaped seedpod. It has velvety texture thanks to fine hairs on the surface. Seed are lens-shaped.
Ground pods of camel thorn are used in human diet in the form of porridge. Roasted seed are used as a substitute for coffee.
Rhino, eland, kudu and elephants collect pods of camel thorn from the ground. Pods are also important source of food for the livestock.
Giraffes eat fruit and leaves directly from camel thorn tree. They have specially designed tongue that prevents injuries from thorns. In Afrikaans language, giraffe is also known as "camel-horse", hence the name "camel thorn".
Seed of camel thorn is covered with tough, protective membrane. It passes through intestines of herbivores undamaged and often germinates from their dung. Seed retain ability to germinate even after 50 years of dormancy.
Dense crown of camel thorn provides shade and serves as a shelter for birds, spiders, rodents, insects and lizards. Leopards often leave scratch marks (visible scars) on the bark of camel thorn trees.
Silk moth lays eggs on the camel thorn tree and serves as important source of silk for the local communities.
Dark reddish-brown wood is used in the manufacture of fence posts, ax handles, houses and as a firewood.
Dried pods of camel thorn are used in treatment of ear infections, bark in treatment of diarrhea and headache, root in treatment of toothache, cough and tuberculosis. Gum is used in treatment of influenza.
Camel thorn can survive from 250 to 300 years in the wild.

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