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Senegalia (Acacia)burkei


Water Needs

low; moderate; water wise

Senegalia (Acacia)burkei
Tree medium; Tree large
Black Monkey Thorn

6 - 12 m x 6 – 9 m


Light Conditions





creamy-white October, November, December, January; spring summer

Garden Situation

sun; shade tree; wildlife bees butterflies insects birds; shrubbery; dry soils; rockery


grassland; bushveld; woodland; rocky places


Highveld; bushveld savanna;

Rain Season


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The Black Monkey-thorn is one of the more distinctive trees of the South African family. It is a large, deciduous tree with a spreading form, growing to between 6 and 14 m tall. The canopy is variable in shape, ranging from rounded, to flattened or quite open. Attractive bark if irregularly fissured and flaking and branches carry dark, hooked thorns; these are short (3 – 9 mm long), sharp and backwards curving, growing in pairs below the leaf buds. Long (15 – 85 mm) creamy-white flower tassels adorn the tree in early summer; they are stalkless, growing directly on the stem, with a pink-red calyx. Flat seed pods follow from October onwards, bright red changing to dark brown with age, and are attractively veined. These hang in clusters and eventually split open while still on the tree. Leaf size varies across regions. Frost hardy, but protect from cold wind. Pollinated by bees, and, being one of only a few of our Acacias that provide nectar, is visited by other insects and birds. For those in search of a shade tree, this species is perhaps too slow-growing, but an excellent tree for feeding wild animals, cattle and game. It is a butterfly host plant. Roots can be aggressive.

Senegalia (Acacia)burkei
Senegalia (Acacia)burkei
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