122. Shepherd's Tree Boscia albitrunca
Order: Brassicales. Family: Capparaceae
Richtersveld, Hell's kloof
It is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree up to 7 m tall. It has a dense, round to spreading crown. It can be a single-stemmed, relatively high-branching tree with a crooked or twisted stem (up to 8 m). Over much of the Kalahari and the Karoo, it is a small rounded shrub.
The conspicuous, whitish bark can make the tree look as if it has been whitewashed. It is often pitted and folded, and may have tiny holes. In some areas older bark becomes yellowish or blackish, and can be flaky.
The leathery leaves are arranged in clusters in bunches of 4 - 5 on both older branches and on short, spiky side-branchlets. On new growth they may be scattered alternately. They have smooth margins and a short leaf-stalk (Leaf variable, usually 20 - 60 x 4 - 20 mm).
The flowers are borne in clusters on short shoots. They are small, sweet-scented, greenish-yellow and are usually on older growth. They occur singly, or in small, dense clusters, on short side-branchlets usually on older wood. Flowering trees have a striking yellow-green tinge. The flowers appear from July to November, but generally start in August, depending on rainfall (4 mm diam.)
Fruit grows in bunches along the fruit-stalk (Oct - Mar) (10 mm diam.). Habitat
It is found in the drier parts of southern Africa, in areas of low rainfall. Distribution
Botswana, South Africa (Limpopo, Gauteng, North-West, Free State, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal), Swaziland. It also extends into Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Links: Rina Grant, Val Thomas: Sappi Tree Spotting: Highlands: Highveld, Drakensberg, Eastern Cape Mountains