Tag Archives: Haak-en-Steek

Umbrella Thorn

Vachellia (Acacia) tortilis

The Umbrella Thorn is one of the most characteristic large trees of our dry savanna regions, and occurs from South Africa through eastern Africa into northern Africa and Arabia. It is a hardy species and can grow to a height of 21m, with a classic umbrella-shaped canopy, though in very arid areas it seldom grows beyond a small scrub. The Afrikaans name, Haak-en-Steek, literally translates as Hook-and-Prick and is an excellent description of the arrangement of the Umbrella Thorn’s spikes. Umbrella Thorns flower in summer, producing dense masses of white flowers.

Umbrella Thorn wood can be used for making furniture, tools and fence posts, the leaves and pods are excellent fodder for game and livestock, and several parts of the plant is used in traditional medicines.