Often called the Tree of Life due to its ability to provide food to both humans and animals, Boscia albitrunca is a small to medium-sized tree reaching a mature height of 5 m.
Boscia albitrunca is characterised by leathery, grey-green leaves spirally arranged in clusters. The leaves also have a round tip. It produces yellowish green flowers that are heavily fragranced in Spring. When the tree is in bloom it attracts birds and butterflies. The bark is smooth and whitish grey becoming dark grey and flaky when trees are mature. The roots are said to have medicinal use as an all-purpose medicine.
Boscia albutrunca occurs in the drier parts of South Africa and prefers a well-drained, poor soil. It is well adapted to dry conditions, high summer temperatures as well as short periods of frost.It is extremely slow -growing from seed and does not transplant easily. Quite often, the trunk is contorted and coupled with the fine foliage, make this tree very attractive. If you have one, cherish it!
Boscia albutrunca is steeped in folklore. The roots have been used as a coffee substitute and the green seeds pickled and used as a relish.
The shepherd’s tree is a protected tree in South Africa . It Nature, the tree is kept neat by browsers but in the garden it requires pruning to produce a neat crown.