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Scientific name: Vachellia sieberiana  

Family: Fabaceae


Common Names:paperbark thorn (Eng.); papierbasdoring (Afr.); Mphoka (North Sotho); umNganduzi (Siswati); Mokha, Morumosetlha (Tswana); Musaunga (Venda); umKhamba (Zulu); Nkowankowa (Tsonga)

Dicoma capensis

Vachellia sieberiana

Description: V. sieberiana is a magnificent, widely spreading, flat crown (12 m high, 16 m wide) of deep green, deciduous, feathery foliage. The tree has an attractive creamy-tan to yellow-brown corky bark; make this an easy tree to identify. The flaky, papery bark peels off in flattish strips, revealing a yellow under bark.

Flowers are creamy to pale yellow scented balls.

Flowering time: September to November.

Origin: South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, northern and eastern Botswana, northern Namibia and tropical Africa north to Ethiopia.

Plant Uses: In Central Africa, a bark/root decoction is used for inflammation of the urinary passages. Leaf, bark and resin are used as an astringent for colds/chest problems, diarrhoea, haemorrhage and eye inflammation. In Tanzania, bark is used to treat gonorrhoea. The edible gum is a good adhesive. Twine from the inner bark is used for threading beads.

Propagation: This tree is easily propagated from seed.


Coates Palgrave, K. 1988. Trees of southern Africa, Struik, Cape Town.
Joffe, P. 2001. Creative gardening with indigenous plants - a South African guide. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
Palmer, E. & Pitman, N. 1972. Trees of southern Africa. Balkema, Cape Town. Pooley, E. 1993. The complete guide to trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei. Natal Flora Publications Trust, Durban.
Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. 1997. Field guide to the trees of southern Africa. Struik, Cape Town.
Van Wyk, B., Van Wyk, P. & Van Wyk B-E. 2000. Photographic guide to trees of southern Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.
Von Koenen, E. 1996. Medicinal, poisonous and edible plants in Namibia. Klaus Hess, Windhoek.