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Acacia xanthophloea

   (Family: Fabaceae)
   
Afrikaans: Koorsboom English: Fever tree Zulu: umHlosinga  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Tree
Height: 15 - 25m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (light)
  Frost Tolerant (light)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
 
pH: neutral
 
Flowering time EDIT
              x x x x  
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
Yellow
 
  Flower scent EDIT
  Sweetly scented
  Flower info
  Bright yellow, golden, ball-like flowers which are sweetly scented are borne in clusters on shortened side shoots at the nodes and towards the ends of branches.
 
 
Leaf margin
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
Bark / Stem type    Has thorns / Spines
 
  Leaf info EDIT
  Partially Evergreen
  Leaflets which fold up at night.
 
 
 
 
Seed colour
Brown
  Seed info EDIT
  Yellowish- brown to brown pods which split open to reveal the small hard brown seeds, which may be harvested from January to April.
 
 
Description EDIT
Semi-deciduous to deciduous tree approximately 15 to 25m tall and with an open, rounded to spreading or flattish crown.

Bright yellow, golden, ball-like flowers which are sweetly scented are borne in clusters.

The characteristic, almost luminous, lime green to greenish-yellow bark is smooth, slightly flaking, and coated in a yellow powdery substance described by some as sulphurous.
Growing EDIT
A fast growth rate of approximately 1.5 m per year under ideal conditions.
This tree can tolerate moderate frost.
Due to its mature dimensions it is recommended not to plant it close to buildings.

The fever tree is relatively easy to propagate. Before sowing, the seed should be soaked in hot water overnight. This causes the seeds to swell and usually by the next morning they are ready to be sown. Seed can be sown in seedling trays using a well drained seedling medium and then covered lightly. When the seedlings reach the two-leaf stage (approx. six to eight weeks after sowing) they should be transplanted from seedling trays into nursery bags, taking care not to damage the long taproot. Seedlings and young trees transplant well. Seed and young growing plants are available at selected seed stockists and nurseries respectively.
Distribution EDIT
The fever tree occurs mainly in depressions and shallow pans where underground water is present or surface water collects after summer rains. It is also found in low-lying swampy areas, along the margins of lakes and on river banks. It often forms pure, dense stands of closed woodland in seasonally flooded areas on alluvial soils. This tree can be found from Kenya in the north to KwaZulu Natal in the south. It is a prominent feature in the lowveld region of South Africa.
History EDIT
The genus name Acacia is derived from the greek word acantha meaning spine, thorn or prickle and the species name xanthophloea is derived from the greek words xanthos meaning yellow and phloios meaning bark.

Early pioneers thought that this tree caused a fever since people travelling or living in the areas where it grew contracted a bad fever. They therefore associated the fever with the tree. This however was erroneous as the swampy places where fever trees grow are also ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which carry malaria. Thus through these early settlers the myth was born and the plant acquired its name as the fever tree.
Uses EDIT
Attractive tree and is often used to decorate gardens and urban landscapes.

The wood is hard, heavy and a suitable general purpose timber but it should be seasoned before use otherwise it is likely to crack. The main stems and larger branches are used to fence out hippo from fields on the Pongola floodplain and the timber is reputed to be used for boxwood.

Medicinally the bark is used for treating fevers and eye complaints.
Ecology EDIT
This plant has root nodules containing nitrogen fixing bacteria as do most members of the Mimosaceae family and these play an important role in the nitrogen enrichment of soils which then has a positive impact on the growth of plants around the fever tree. The dappled shade underneath the canopy is ideal for smaller plants which require protection from the full brunt of the suns rays but still require sufficient light.

This tree is popular amongst birds for nest building as the thorns add extra protection against predators such as snakes. Young branches and leaves are eaten by elephant and the leaves and pods are eaten by giraffe and vervet monkeys. Monkeys and grey louries also eat the flowers. The gum and green seeds are eaten by baboons. Insects such as bees are attracted by the yellow colour and sweet scent of the flowers and perform a pollination role.
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