Of all the continents, Africa is known as the driest among the seven. Located in the half border of the Mediterranean Sea, and stretches on the south of the equator, it is no wonder why Africa is also considered the hottest among the seven continents.

Africa, being a tropical continent with sixty percent of deserts and drylands,  and also the home of the largest hot desert in the world –the Sahara Desert that covers thirty-one percent of the African continent. It is quite surprising that Africa holds rank number four, with 624 million hectares of forest cover.

Despite being on a tropical location, trees in the African forest make a question of how such delicate creation survives in such a condition.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common trees in South Africa and how they adapt in the African climate:

1. Acacia Totillis

Acacia Totillis, commonly known as Umbrella Thorn, is a susceptible termite tree, with greyish black bark and willowy trunk. It is called “Umbrella Thorn” because of its notable umbrella-shaped tops. Although it is a small and slender tree, it grows about up to twenty meters high. It is one of the seven hundred species of acacia trees that grow in southern Africa. This type of tree grows in rocky areas and sand dunes. Umbrella Thorns are recorded to survive the heat of fifty degrees Celcius and can withstand a freezing temperature of about minus eighteen degrees Celcius. Most of the Acacia family trees like Umbrella Thorn have their taproots deeply rooted below the ground as their way of adaptation to survive the droughts.

2. AdansoniaDigitata

Adansonia digitata is known as Baobab or “the tree of life.” It is one of the South African trees that grow up to twenty-five meters high. It is called the “The Tree of Life” because of its traditional value as the source of food, water, and shelter topped with superstition and legends. Baobabs commonly resemble and called an upside-down tree, given its appearance wherein its branches spread out like roots. It is a tree with greyish brown bark and a bottle-shaped trunk. Baobabs store water on its trunk and thick barks in order not to dry and be fire-resistant. This tree also has a deep taproot that serves as their way to survive in a dry climate.

3. EucleaBseudebenus

Euclea pseudebenus or Ebony Tree (or also known as “True Tree”) is a tree that usually grows up to approximately 10 feet. This tree has a dense and dark heartwood, which varies from black to dark brown, and is commonly found in Africa. It has lean branches covered in narrow, drooping tree leaves. Ebony Tree usually grows in semi-desert or stony areas. It is known as a desert tree that can survive in a desert condition and both winter and summer conditions.

4. FaureaSaligna

Faurea saligna or Beech Wood is a tree that grows up to seven to ten meters high, with long, narrow, and spirally arranged leaves. It has a bell-shaped flower that is usually in cream or greenish-yellow in color. This type of tree grows in a sandy kind of soil, and on rocky ridge places. Although it is sensitive to cold climates, it can survive in an area with mild winter. Beech Wood is also known in its tolerance to rainfall, with about 508 mm per year, and could live unto low to medium altitude.

5. Aloe Angelica

Aloe Angelica is a large rare, single-stemmed tree that can be found in the Northern Province in South Africa. It grows about up to four meters high. Aloe Angelica is notable for its broad succulent leaves with small sharp teeth and droops below its upper trunk. It has tubular flowers –usually in red but turns yellow as it aged,  that grows above the topmost part of the trunk.

These are only some of the hundred more types of endemic trees that find their way of adapting to the climate of the wild safari.

If you are an explorer, a nature lover tied in the beauty of the natural world, or simply a tree enthusiast, below are more of the common trees that can be found in the tropical beauty of South Africa


Acacia albida Ana tree
Acacia caffra Common hook thorn
Acacia Cyclops #Red eye
Acacia dealbata #Silver wattle
Acacia erioloba Camel thorn
Acacia haematoxylon Grey camel thorn
Acacia hebeclada Candle acacia
Acacia karroo Sweet thorn
Acacia longifolia #Long leaved acacia
Acacia mearnsii # Black wattle
Acacia nigrescens Knob thorn
Acacia robusta Splendid acacia
Acacia saligna # Port Jackson willow
Acacia sieberana Paperbark acacia
Acacia totillis Umbrella thorn
Acacia xanthophloea Fever tree
Adansonia digitata Baobab
Afzelia quanzensis Pod mahogany
Albizia adianthifolia Flat crown
Albizia anthelmintica Worm cure albizia
Aloe angelica
Aloe arbrescens Krantz aloe
Aloe bainesii Tree aloe
Aloe candelabrum
Aloe dichotoma Quiver tree
Aloe ferox Bitter aloe
Aloe marlothii Flat-flowered aloe
Aloe pillansii
Aloe pluridens French aloe
Aloe rupestris
Aloe spectabilis
Barringtonia racemosa Powder-puff tree
Bauhinia galpinii Pride-of-De Kaap
Bequaertiodendronmegalismontanum   Transvaal milkplum
Bequaertiodendron natalense
Bolusanthus speciosus Tree wistaria
Borassus aethiopum
Boscia albitrunca Shepherd’s tree
Boscia foetida Smelly shepherd’s tree
Brachylaena discolor Wild silver oak
Brachylaena rotunda Mountain silver oak
Brachystegia boehmii Mufuti
Brachystegia spiciformis Msasa
Breonadia salicina Matumi
Bridelia micrantha Mitzeerie
Buddleja saligna False olive
Buddleja salviifolia Sagewood
Calpurnia aurea Wild laburnum
Calpurnia robinioides
Celtis africana White stinkwood
Clausena anisata Horsewood
Colophospermum mopane Mopane
Combretum apiculatum Red bushwillow
Combretum erthrophyllum River bushwillow
Combretum hereroense Russet bushwillow
Combretum imberbe Leadwood
Combretum molle Velvet bushwillow
Combretum zeyheri Large-fruited bushwillow
Commiphora africana Poison-grub commiphora
Commiphora glaucescens Bronze paper commiphora
Commiphora harveyi Blue-leaved commiphora
Commiphora neglecta Sweet-root commiphora
Commiphora pyracanthoides Common commiphora
Cunonia capensis Red alder
Cussonia spicata Cabbage tree
Cyphostemma bainesii Gouty vine
Cyphostemma currorii Cobas
Cyphostemma juttae Bastard cobas
Dichrostachys cinerea Sickle bush
Diospyros mespiliformis Jackal-berry
Diplorhynchus condylocarpon Horn-pod tree
Dombeya rotundifolia Wild pear
Erythrina caffra Coast erythrina
Erythrina lysistemon Common coral tree
Euclea divinorum Magic guarri
Euclea pseudebenus Ebony tree
Euphorbia cooperi Lesser candelabra tree
Euphorbia grandidens Large-toothed euphorbia
Euphorbia ingens Candelabra tree
Euphorbia tetragona
Euphorbia tirucalli Honey euphorbia
Euphorbia triangularis River euphorbia
Faurea galphinii
Faurea saligna Beechwood


Faurea speciosa
Ficus abutilifolia Large-leaved rock fig
Ficus cordata Namaqua fig
Ficus  ilicina Laurel fig
Ficus ingens Red-leaved rock fig
Ficus lutea Giant-leaved fig
Ficus natalensis Common wild fig
Ficus salicifolia Wonderboom fig
Ficus stuhlmannii Lowveld fig
Ficus sur Cape fig
Ficus sycomorus
Greyia flanaganii
Greyia radkoferi
Greyia sutherlandii Natal bottlebrush
Halleria lucida Tree-fuchsia
Heeria argentea Rockwood
Hibiscus tiliaceus Coast hibiscus
Hyphaene coriacea Ilala palm
Hyphaene petersiana
Jacaranda mimosifolia #Jacaranda
Jubaeopsis caffra
Kigelia africana Sausage tree
Kirkia wilmsii Mountain syringa
Leucodendron argentum Silver-leaf protea
Leucosidea sericea Oldwood
Leucospermumconocarpodendron Tree pincushion
Lonchocarpus capassa Apple-leaf
Maytenus heterophylla Common spike-thorn
Maytenus senegalensis Confetti tree
Melia azedarach #Syringa
Mimusops caffra Coast red-milkwood
Mimusops obovata
Mimusops zeyheri Transvaal red-milkwood
Olea europaea Wild olive
Olinia emarginata Mountain olinia
Ozoroa paniculosa Common resin tree
Pachypodium lealii Bottle tree
Pachypodium namaquanum Elephant’s trunk
Peltophorum africanum Weeping wattle
Phoenix reclinata Wild date palm
Pinus canariensis #
Pinus halepensis #Aleppo pine
Pinus patula #Patula pine
Pinus pinaster #Cluster pine
Pinus radiata #
Podocarpus elongatus
Podocarpus falcatus Outeniqua yellowwood
Podocarpus henkelii
Podocarpus latifolius Real yellowwood
Populus canescens #Grey poplar
Prosopis glandulosa Mesquite
Protea caffra Highveld protea
Protea laurifolia Laurel protea
Protea nitida Wagon tree
Protea repens Sugarbush
Protea roupelliae Silver protea
Pterocarpus angolensis Transvaal teak
Rauvolfia caffra Quinine tree
Rhus lancea Karree
Rhus undulata Kuni-bush
Salix babylonica #Weeping willow
Salvadora angustifolia
Salvadora persica Mustard tree
Schotia brachpetala Weeping boer-bean
Sclerocarya birrea Maroela
Sideroxylon inerme White milkwood
Solanum mauritianum #Bug tree
Spirostachys africana Tamboti
Strelitzia alba
Stralitzia caudata
Stralitzia nicolai Natal strelitzia
Stychnos madagascariensis Black monkey orange
Stychnos spinosa Spiny monkey orange
Syzygium cordatum Umdoni
Syzygium guineense woodland waterberry
Terminalia pruniodes Purple-pod terminalia
Terminalia sericea Silver terminalia
Trema orientalis Pigeonwood
Trichilia dregeana Forest Natal mahongany
Virgilia divaricata Blossom tree1
Virgilia oroboides Blossom tree2
Zanthoxylum capense Small knobwood
Zanthoxylum davyi
Ziziphus mucronata Buffalo-thorn


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