Tree profile: Flaky-bark thorn

Lab Note #10
Jun 25, 2014
   Flakey-bark Thorn, the prickly hobbit acacia

Scientific name: Acacia exuvialis 
Acacia: from the greek word ‘akis’ meaning a point or a barb;   Exuvialis: peeling or flaking, referring to the bark
Family: Pod-bearing family (Fabaceae) 
Indigenous names: Skilferbasdoring (Afrikaans), Risavana (Tsonga), 

The flaky-bark thorn isn't a very attractive tree, actually it doesn't really look like a tree at all, so I can't recommend its seeds to you to in good conscience. Accordingly, this profile will be shorter than normal as not even botanists or the locals have much to say about it (as can perhaps be seen by there only being two indigenous names listed for it compared to the usual five or six). Still, far be it for me to dictate the tastes and aesthetic predilections of others, and it certainly has its uses (if you plant it in front of your door it will definitely deter solicitors), so if you would like flaky-bark thorn seeds I would be more than happy to send you some.


Well, flaky-bark thorn certainly has thorns, and it does indeed have flaky bark. It grows to about one and a half or two meters tall (about five to seven feet), and who knows, with tender love and care maybe it can grow even taller... maybe. One of the most pleasant things about it are its seeds. They're smooth and glossy, reminding me of polished mahogany. Maybe you'd like some seeds just to keep in a jar. Um, its very easy to confuse with Acacia swazica. To that end I actually contributed to the natural history in my study area by reclassifying a whole suite of mis-identified Acacia swazicas, so never let it be said that my work doesn't have immediate practical applications. What else... well, you don't want to run into one.

They can also make bonsai.... though I'm not entirely sure the horticulturalists hasn't also mis-identified this one...

  1. Trees and Shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park, Ernst Schmidt, Mervyn Lotter and Warren McClealand
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