Scientific name: Acacia xanthophloea- Vachellia xanthophloea, Sweet thorn group (594)
Local Name: NA
Fever tree is native to Somalia south, northern South Africa and Swaziland. Acacia xanthophloea is a large tree, 15-25 m tall, with a crown that is somewhat spreading, branching fairly up the trunk. Bark smooth, slightly flaking, yellow to greenish-yellow. New twigs purple tinged but flaking later to reveal the yellow underlayer.
A bark decoction is used in traditional medicine to treat indigestion and used to treat sickle cell anaemia. In South Africa, Zulu people use powdered bark as an emetic to treat malaria, and also against eye complaints.
The has good timber, which is used in construction and for carpentry, boat building, boxwood, furniture, mortars, domestic utensils, troughs and fence poles. The wood is used as firewood, although the gum leaves a black tar-like deposit when burnt. It makes good quality charcoal. Acacia xanthophloea is a popular garden tree and has been grown in hedges in Tanzania.
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.