Mopane Facts

Mopane Facts
Mopane is semi-deciduous tree that belongs to the pea family. It can be found in the northern parts of the South Africa. Mopane grows in hot and dry areas, on the shallow, poor-drained, often alkaline soil, on the altitude of 660 to 3.770 feet. It often grows in groups. Mopane woodlands are especially decorative and attractive during the autumn. Mopane represents important source of food and shelter for the local animals. People does not use mopane as a source of food, but they benefit from extremely hard wood of this plant.
Interesting Mopane Facts:
Mopane produces one or more stems that can reach 6.5 to 59 feet in height. Tree has wide, usually V-shaped crown.
Mopane has dark grey bark covered with deep, longitudinal fissures.
Mopane has butterfly-shaped leaves (two leaflets grow from a single petiole). Green leaves change color into red, orange and yellow during the autumn and create impression of the forest fire. Mopane has aromatic leaves that release turpentine-like smell when they are crushed.
Mopane blooms from December to January. It produces yellow-green, small flowers arranged in drooping clusters that are designed for pollination by wind.
Fruit of mopane is flat, kidney-shaped, leathery pod. Each pod contains one wrinkled seed equipped with resinous glands. Mopane produces fruit from April to June.
Mopane contains light-brown sap in the sapwood (wood below the bark). Sap leaks as a response to injury (people make incisions on the bark to obtain sap).
Mopane produces extremely hard wood that is resistant to termites. It is used for the manufacture of fences for the cattle, railway sleepers and as a firewood.
Reddish-colored wood of mopane is used in the industry of furniture, floorings, music instruments (such as flutes) and for the various decorative items for the aquariums.
Substances isolated from the bark are used for tanning of leather. Inner bark is used for the manufacture of ropes.
Leaves and pods of mopane are used as animal fodder. Leaves and branches are important source of food for the elephants. Kudu, eland, giraffe, nyala and buffalo like to eat leaves of this plant. Birds frequently nest in the cavities of mopane.
Mopane hosts mopane worms (larvae of emperor moth) and silkworms. Mopane worm is important source of nutrients and proteins for the South African tribes. Silkworm encapsulates itself in the cocoon made of silk that is used in the manufacture of cloths among the local tribes.
Twigs of mopane can be used as toothbrushes.
Leaves of mopane can be used to stop the bleeding and to accelerate healing of wounds. Wood of mopane can be used in treatment of eye infections. Bark is effective in treatment of diarrhea.
Mopane can be cultivated in pots like bonsai.
Mopane is perennial plant that can survive more than 50 years in the wild.

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