The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Monkey Thorn

Afrikaans name: Apiesdoring

Monkey Thorn tree

Monkey Thorn

Photo © Steven Herbert

Acacia galpinii

The Monkey Thorn tree is a large tree that grows to a height of up to 25 metres. It can be found along riverbanks as well as in open woodland. In South Africa it only occurs in parts of the Limpopo and North West provinces.

The Monkey Thorn has rough brown bark. When older the bark gets vertical furrows. The leaves are compound structures that are up to 11 cm in length. The flowers appear in September and October and take the shape of long yellowish spikes. The seedpods can be up to almost 30 cm in length and are narrow and reddish-brown in colour. They seedpods ripen in February and March.

The flowers of the Monkey Thorn attract bees, wasps and other insects. Some mammals eat the pods and in turn help to disperse the seeds.

The wood of this tree is brown and is sometimes used to make furniture although it is difficult to work with. If you have the space, you can grow this tree quite easily in your garden. If you are growing them from seed, then first soak the seeds in hot water. The Monkey Thorn is a fairly fast-growing tree that can withstand some frost.

References and further reading

Field Guide to the Acacias of South Africa - Author: Nico Smit - Published: 2008 - Page: 90

Indigenous Garden Plants of Southern Africa - Author: Glenice Ebedes - Published: 2017 - Page: 51

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1991 - Page: 245

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Published: 2002 - Page: 281


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