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.

References and further reading

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

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

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

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

Butterfly Gardening in South Africa - Author: Jill Reid - Published: 2000 - Page: 84

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

Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 5th edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2008 - Page: 46

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 264

Namaqualand in Flower - Author: Sima Eliovson - Published: 1972 - Page: 81

Piet van Wyks Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 1st edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 1988 - Page: 46

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

Pollinators, Predators and Parasites - Author: C. Scholtz, J. Scholtz, H. De Klerk - Published: 2021 - Page: 230

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

Butterfly Gardening in South Africa - Author: Jill Reid - Published: 2000 - Page: 59

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

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


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