By Reinhard Fichtl
Recommended for planting to increase honey production
A well-branched, semi-deciduous tree growing up to 18 m high, with a rounded or sometimes flat crown, drooping foliage, and an often crooked, cylindrical bole.
Bark: pale grey and smooth when young, dark brown and rough later.
Leaves: with four to seven pairs of opposite leaflets; oblong, dark green and leathery.
Flowers: white to pale yellow, fragrant, arranged in large branched heads or panicles giving the tree in flower an appearance of brown speckled with white.
Fruits: dark brown, flat, velvety pods, squareended, borne above the leaves and splitting explosively to release two to six smooth brown seeds.
Flowering: from January to May with casual flowering in November.
Found between 1000 and 1400m in dry, evergreen forest and in most woodland types on plateau and escarpment soils and is locally frequent in woodland on Kalahari sands, often dominant in miombo forests. Its rainfall range is from 700 to 1000 mm per year.
Occurring in Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is the most common and most widespread tree in Zimbabwe.
The bark is used for ropes, stitched canoes, corn bins and sacks. The bark contains a dark tannin which has also been used as a dye. Bee hives are often made from the bark. In traditional medicine the bark is used as a laxative and to treat constipation.
Propagation is done by natural regeneration and seedlings. Pre-treatment of seeds is recommended by soaking them in cold water for about 24 hours.
[Bees for Development Jounal #41]