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"Black monkey thorn"
The Black Monkey Thorn tree (Afrikaans name Swartapiesdoring) is is a semi-deciduous tree. Semi-deciduous plants lose their foliage for a very short period, when old leaves fall off and new foliage growth is starting. Semi-deciduous may also describe mild-weather trees that lose leaves in a manner similar to deciduous trees in an especially cold autumn ¿ as is the case with the black monkey thorn tree.
Growing up to 25m tall, acacia burkei is mildly frost resistant and does well in all types of well-drained soil. As a bonsai specimen, care should be taken not to expose the trees to extreme weather conditions. Saplings should be protected from frost for at least the first year to prevent damage or killing the tree. During harsh winter periods, black monkey thorn should be moved to a more sheltered area to avoid being killed by frost.
One of the most distinctive chartacteristics of A. Burkei is its strongly hooked, blackish-brown thorns, in pairs just below the nodes. The leaves consist of 3-5 pinnae (a pinnae consists of a leaflet or primary division of a pinnately compound leaf), with 4-10 leaflets per pinna.
The Black Monkey thorns¿ habitat consists mainly of sandy soild with hot and dry deciduous woodland, and can be found from Kwazulu-Natal to Swaziland, Mozambique and South East Zimbabwe ¿ they can be found up to an altitude of 400 metres. A. Burkei was named after botanist and collector Joseph Burke (1812 ¿ 1873), who collected these trees in the northen parts of South Africa. It¿s timber¿has been used for furniture manufacture. Being termite resistant it was also used for fence poles. The leaves and the highly nutritional pods are eaten by game.
The Black Monkey Thorn makes a very attractive, and is very easy to grow and maintain as, a bonsai. A. Burkei has a beautifully textured trunk and an average branching habit.