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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Shepherd's Tree

Afrikaans name: Witgat

Leaves of the Shepherd's Tree

Shepherd's Tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Boscia albitrunca

The Shepherd's Tree is often called the "tree of life" as it provides food to many animals and has many uses for humans as well, including the roots being used to make porridge, making beer and various medicinal treatments.

It normally only grows to a height of 7 metres. It has a tall light-greyish trunk and bushy crown. The leaves are greyish-green.

From late winter to spring the clumps of yellowish-green flowers appear. The fruit is smooth and about 1 cm in size.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 120

A site-by-site guide to trees in the Kruger National Park - Author: Marissa Greeff - Year Published: 2017 - Page: 62

Everyone's Guide to Trees of South Africa - Author: Keith, Paul and Meg Coates Palgrave - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 28

Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - Author: Piet van Wyk - Year Published: 2008 - Page: 46

Pocket Guide - Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Piet van Wyk - Year Published: 2013 - Page: 25

Sappi Tree Spotting: Lowveld - Author: Jacana - Year Published: 1997 - Page: 152

Sasol First Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa - Author: Elsa Pooley - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 18

Southern Africa from the Highway - Author: AA RSA - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 161

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Year Published: 1994 - Page: 102

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Year Published: 2002 - Page: 224

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