Camel thorn

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Camel thorn
Camel thorn tree (Vachellia erioloba) in the habitat

Camel thorn tree ( Vachellia erioloba ) in the habitat

Order : Fabales (Fabales)
Family : Legumes (Fabaceae)
Subfamily : Mimosa family (Mimosoideae)
Tribe : Acacieae
Genre : Vachellia
Type : Camel thorn
Scientific name
Vachellia erioloba
E. Mey. PJHHurter

The camel thorn ( Vachellia erioloba (E.Mey) PJHHurter. , Syn. : Acacia erioloba . E.Mey ) even camel thorn tree or camel thorn acacia , belongs to the subfamily of Mimosa Family (Mimosoideae) within the family of legumes (Fabaceae).


The name is derived from the zoological name for the giraffe Giraffa camel opardalis , the direct translation would be giraffe thorn tree . In English there are both common names "Giraffe Thorn" and "Camel Thorn". The species name erioloba consists of the parts erio (woolly, hairy) and loba ((ear) lobes) and refers to the appearance of the fruit.


Vachellia erioloba

The camel thorn grows as a tree and can normally reach heights of 6 to 7 meters, but also up to 22 meters. Its branches and twigs are covered in pairs with thorns up to 5 cm long.

The flowering period begins in July and lasts until November, with the peak in September. The spherical yellow inflorescences are only a few centimeters in size and represent an important food supply for insects. The legumes have the shape of a crescent moon and are the largest among the African acacias. Their woody casing has a gray, velvety coating and contains between 8 and 25 seeds.


The camel thorn is a dominant plant species in southern Africa , especially in Namibia and Botswana . It can also be found in Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Israel.

The camel thorn can cope with rainfall of 40 to 900 mm / year and daytime temperatures of below 15 ° C to 45 ° C. It is an important source of shade in the deserts and semi-deserts. It prefers to grow in or near river beds in order to reach the groundwater with its roots up to 60 meters deep in the sandy soil .

Medical use

Ear infections are treated with the ground powder of the legumes in traditional medicine. A brew from the root is used to treat toothache and tuberculosis .

Cultural reception

In the Südwesterlied the camel thorn is sung about as a characteristic plant of Namibia (formerly German Southwest Africa ) and stands for the adverse living conditions of the local natural area.



  • Collation and Overview of Research Information on Acacia Erioloba (Camelthorn) and Identification of Relevant Research Gaps To Inform Protection of the Species, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, South Africa ; Colleen Seymour & Suzanne Milton; Assisted by Deidré Alias ​​and Eric Herrmann

Web links

Commons : Camel Thorn ( Vachellia erioloba )  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files
  • Acacia erioloba . In: S. Dressler, M. Schmidt, G. Zizka (Eds.): African plants - A Photo Guide. Senckenberg, Frankfurt / Main 2014.

Individual evidence

  1. Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber: "Walking on the pad". Travel into nature as a way of ethnicising German Namibians. In: Rolf Wilhelm Brednich , Annette Schneider, Ute Werner (eds.): Nature - Culture. Folklore perspectives on people and the environment. Waxmann, Münster et al. 2001, pp. 189–196, here p. 191 .