Trees of the Kruger National Park

With 336 species of trees being recorded, trees are fairly well represented in the Kruger National Park.

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Some of the better known tree species found in the Kruger National Park:

  • Acacia exuvialis - Flaky Thorn : This tree prefers granitic soils, and is often found on the edges of roads, gravelly soils and rocky hillsides. In Kruger it is very common around Skukuza, Pretoriuskop and Malelane. It is normally found growing in groups.
  • Acacia gerrardii - Red Thorn : This tree enjoys all soil types, preferring brackish or clay soils, occurring in woodland and wooded grasslands. It is often found in large groups, especially in the basalt Ecozones. In F it is often the only thorn-tree, apart from knob thorn.
  • Acacia grandicornuta - Horned Thorn : This tree prefers brackish soils near rivers and drainage lines and are also found on clay soils. Occurs in low altitude dry thornveld and mopane woodland.
  • Acacia nigrescens - Knob Thorn : This tree is particularly prominent in the A, B, C, D, E, F, J, and L ecozones, where it usually occurs in groups. The largest trees are found in the flood-plains in all the ecozones. The shrub form is very common in the gabbro (E) and central basalt (J) ecozones.
  • Acacia nilotica - Scented Thorn : This tree prefers brackish soils near rivers and drainage lines and are also found on clay soils
  • Acacia robusta - Brack Thorn : This tree is found on the edges of rivers and streams, and may be found further from permanent water, in higher rainfall areas.
  • Acacia tortilis - Umbrella Thorn : These medium to large trees are widespread throughout the Kruger National Park, and are most prolific on the brackish flats alongside rivers, and in heavily grazed areas, where it occurs in groups.
  • Acacia welwitschii - Delagoa Thorn : This is the most common tree in the Delagoa thorn thickets (G), where it occurs in large groups. Normally occurring in low altitude woodland and on brackish flats.
  • Acacia xanthophloea - Fever Tree : This tree occurs in large numbers near Pafuri. No other thorn-tree in this area has a trunk and branches that are yellow-green and covered in yellow powder, making it unique in appearance.
  • Adansonia digitata - Baobab : The Baobab prefers deep, well drained soils found in rocky areas and in alluvial plains. In the Kruger, very few Baobabs can be found south of the Olifants River. A great speciman can be seen 27 kms south of Satara on the H1-3.
  • Afzelia quanzensis - Pod Mahogany : In Kruger it is normally found on koppies south of the Olifants River, while near the Limpopo and around Punda Maria it is common on the deep, sandy soils of these areas. It also occurs on the rocky ridges of the Lebombo Mountains.
  • Albizia forbesii - Broad-Pod False-Thorn : This tree is often found along rivers and on sandy soils in higher-rainfall areas, often growing in small groups in a suitable habitat. In Kruger these trees are easy to find along the Sabie river, between Skukuza and Nkuhlu.
  • Albizia petersiana - Many-Stemmed False-Thorn : This tree grows almost exclusively on the Ecca Shales (G) preferring areas close to sandstone ridges. It is normally found in groups and has a strong association with the Delagoa thorn within this specific Ecozone.
  • Androstachys johnsonii - Lembombo Ironwood : This tree only occurs in hilly and mountainous areas of the North, mostly on the Lebombo Mountains (I) In Kruger it also occurs in homogeneous stands on the crests of the hills around Punda Maria and Pafuri (N).
  • Balanites maughamii - Green Thorn : Although this tree is more common on sandy soils, it does not show specific soil preferences. Young trees are often found in groups. It is most often found in thorny thickets on the granite soils south of the Olifant River, especially in D.
  • Bauhinia galpinii - Pride-of-De Kaap : This tree prefers areas of higher rainfall or moist conditions, found usually in hot areas, in various types of woodland and thicket. In the Kruger it is often found along the river courses near Pretoriuskop, Malelane and Punda Maria.
  • Bolusanthus speciosus - Tree Wisteria : This is a graceful tree, growing from 4 - 7 m in height, that prefers heavier soils such as those found on gabbro (E), but they may occur on a variety of soils. The largest specimens are found along rivers. It often grows singly, with large groups being found only on heavier soil.
  • Boscia albitrunca - Shepherds' Tree : This tree prefers well-drained soils such as sandy or rocky soils and is widespread in dry, open woodland and bushveld. It is most common in rocky areas and more common north of the Olifants River (J).
  • Breonadia salicina - Matumi (Mingerhout) : This tree is found along the permanent rivers of the Lowveld, occurring at low altitudes, and in riverine fringe forests.
  • Cassia abbreviata - Sjambok Pod : This tree is widely spread throughout the Lowveld, and has no habitat preferences.
  • Cassine transvaalensis - Transvaal Saffron : Found more commonly in the brackish flats of the granites, and in Mkuze Game Reserve. This tree grows best at medium to low altitudes in open woodland, along streams and on termite mounds.
  • Colophospermum mopane - Mopane : The mopane tree is found mostly on clay soils, being stunted where soils are shallow or poorly drained, in deeper soils and near watercourses it can grow to a substantial height of up to 18 m. This is a dominant tree north of the Olifants River, forming very extensive stands in L M O and P.
  • Combretum imberbe - Leadwood : The leadwood is common to South Africa's Lowveld, in low-lying areas and near streams and rivers. It often grows in association with the marula and knob thorn trees, especially in F. Generally only young trees grow in groups, but there may be other mature trees in the vicinity.
  • Combretum apiculatum - Red Bushwillow : These trees are found on the crests of the granite Ecozones A B C D P and on the Lebombo Mountains (D). As with the mopane, the red bushwillow is one of the most abundant trees in Kruger.
  • Combretum erythrophyllum - River Bushwillow : This tree is found only along permanent rivers, where it grows in dense stands. In Kruger it occurs almost exclusively along the Sabie River.
  • Combretum hereroense - Russet Bushwillow : This tree is most often seen around pans, in rocky areas and sometimes on stream banks. It is common in the Lowveld, and usually occurs in closely associated groups.
  • Combretum microphyllum - Flame Creeper : This creeper is normally found growing up trees and shrubs. The pink-green, four-winged pods are borne in abundance early in the summer.
  • Combretum zeyheri - Large-Fruited Bushwillow : This tree is common on crests of the undulating granites of Ecozones A B C and on the Lebombo Mountains. It is more common in higher rainfall areas and is thought to be an indicator of sourveld, as is found in the Pretoriuskop area (B)
  • Commiphora pyracanthoides - Tall Common Corkwood : It normally grows in hot, dry places and generally prefers well-drained, deep, sandy soils and rocky outcrops. In Kruger this specific species is fairly common in the Olifants rugged veld (J) and in localised places in the basalts (F)
  • Dalbergia melanoxylon - Zebrawood : This tree occurs on all soil types. Groups of trees may form dense, impenetrable thickets, often along roadsides. It is usually easier to find in areas with clay soils, in mixed woodland, thicket, or on rocky outcrops such as the basalt areas of the F ecozone.
  • Dichrostachys cinerea - Sickle Bush : This shrub prefers clay-like soils, but is found on all soil types. It usually occurs in large groups, and is found close to rivers and brackish flats and often along roads where there is increased water available from the run-off, particularly in the Crocodile - Sabie thickets.
  • Diospyros mespiliformis - Jackal-Berry : This tree grows along most of the river courses and bigger streams of the Lowveld, occurring at low to medium altitudes, in woodland. It is often found growing away from drainage lines on termite mounds.
  • Euclea divinorum - Magic Guarri : This tree is mostly found in the brackish flats in granite Ecozones A B C and D, also in alluvial soils along river courses. They will generally be found growing in pockets among other tree species. It occurs in thorn scrub, on hillsides and in woodland.
  • Euphorbia confinalis - Lebombo Euphorbia : This tree prefers rocky terrain, (I) and only grows on the Lebombo Mountains.
  • Euphorbia cooperi - Transvaal Candelabra Tree : This tree prefers well-drained soils and is mostly found on granite outcrops, woody grasslands, scrub and in the Lebombo Mountains.
  • Euphorbia ingens - Common Tree Euphorbia : This tree is fairly widespread in the Lowveld. It prefers well-drained, sandy soils such as those found on rocky outcrops and termitaria. It prefers medium to low altitudes in various types of deciduous woodland.
  • Ficus abutilifolia - Large-leaved Rock Fig : The rock fig is widespread in the Lowveld, growing on rock faces where there is good drainage. The roots, which grow deep into the crevices in search of water and nutrients, may on occasion split the rock.
  • Ficus sycomorus - Common Cluster Fig (Sycamore Fig) : This tree is common along all the larger permanent streams and rivers of the Lowveld.
  • Gardenia volkensii - Transvaal Gardenia : While not having a specific habitat preference, the is easier to find these trees in brackish flats.
  • Grewia bicolor - White Raisin Bush : These trees or shrubs are often seen in groups along the edges of roads, river banks and dry rivers, growing in large uniform groups.
  • Grewia flavescens - Sandpaper Raisin : These trees or shrubs are often seen in groups along the edges of roads, river banks and dry rivers, growing in large uniform groups.
  • Hyphaene petersiana - Lala Palm : This tree grows in groups in deep, nutrient-poor, sandy soils in low-lying areas. It is often found on river banks, but seldom in river beds, being more common in basalt areas and alluvial soils. In the Kruger National Park it is more common north of the Olifants River.
  • Kigelia africana - Sausage Tree : It is common in frost-free areas, and found throughout the Lowveld. It prefers to be near rivers, but also grows in high rainfall areas such as Pretoriuskop Sourveld Ecozone. While on or two trees may be found in the same vicinity, the tree usually grows in isolation.
  • Kirkia acuminata - White Seringa : This tree is usually found growing in groups on the northern side of rocky slopes. It is also common in the deep, sandy soils around Punda Maria, and usually grows north of the Sabie River.
  • Kirkia wilmsii - Mountain Seringa : This tree is found in granite and dolomite landscapes in mountainous areas. It may grow in fairly large stands on the northern slopes of the mountains. In Kruger it is only common on the Malelane Mountains (C) and in the Crocodile Valley.
  • Lonchocarpus capassa - Apple-Leaf : This tree is common in most parts of the Lowveld. It grows on all soil types, but is tallest and most plentiful on alluvial plains and on the banks of the rivers and streams.
  • Maytenus senegalensis - Red Spike-Thorn : This tree does not show a specific preference for a particular soil type. It is more easily found where it grows in groups, on or near river banks. It is conspicuous in F, as it is the only green shrub during winter.
  • Nuxia oppositifolia - Water Elder : This is a moderately dense, pale-green, extremely finely leaved tree, only growing right on the edges of river beds.
  • Pappea capensis - Jacket-Plum : This tree has a wide distribution, easiest found in brackish flats, as it is fairly common near rivers and drainage lines. Also occurring in open woodland, among rocks and often on termite mounds.
  • Peltophorum africanum - Weeping Wattle : This tree grows most successfully in medium to low altitudes in wooded grassland and on well-drained and sandy soils, but occurs on all soil types in the Lowveld, and is fairly common everywhere.
  • Phoenix reclinata - Wild Date Palm : This tree normally grows in groups, and is only found on river banks and in river beds.
  • Pterocarpus angolensis - Wild Teak (Kiaat) : This very striking tree is not a common sight in the Lowveld, but can be seen in the higher rainfall areas. In the Kruger this includes the western part of the Pretoriuskop Sourveld Ecozone, towards Numbi gate. The specific distribution only in higher rainfalls areas, particularly B, makes identification easy.
  • Pterocarpus rotundifolius - Round-Leaved Teak : This tree grows on most soil types, other than deep sand. It is most common in granite ecozones (A, B, C), as well as the well-drained soils of the Lebombo Mountains (I). It often occurs in large groups, and large stands of these trees can be seen between Satara and Orpen, and south of Satara towards Tshokwane.
  • Salvadora angustifolia - Transvaal Mustard Tree : This tree is common on the floodplains of the larger rivers of the Lowveld in the Alluvial Plains Ecozone. In Kruger it is common along the Shingwedzi and Pafuri Rivers, where they cross through the basalt Ecozones.
  • Schotia brachypetala - Weeping Boerbean : It is usually found on the banks of bigger rivers and spruits, and on termitaria away from rivers. In Kruger this tree is more common south of the Sabie River. Occurs in open, deciduous woodland and in drier types of woodland and scrub forest.
  • Sclerocarya birrea - Marula / Maroela : This tree is common throughout the Lowveld, growing on all soil types. It is one of the most prominent trees in F. Although various herbivores, including elephant and giraffe, browse on Marula leaves, it is not the most popular foliage.
  • Spirostachys africana - Tamboti : This tree occurs on all soil types, in low altitude bush, and is common in the Lowveld. It is most often seen in groups of a few big trees along the rivers or stream banks, or in large groups of smaller trees, forming a "mini" forest in the brackish flats.
  • Strychnos madagascariensis - Black Monkey Orange : In Kruger the tree form is more common around Pretoruiskop and Malelane. It prefers well-drained soils such as the sandy soils of the granite Ecozones A and B.
  • Terminalia prunioides - Lowveld Cluster-Leaf (Purple Pod Terminalia) : This tree grows in clay soils and on stony slopes. In the Kruger, it is also common along the Olifants, Timbavati and Sabie Rivers.
  • Terminalia sericea - Silver Cluster-Leaf : This tree is easily found in the Lowveld granite - A B and C Ecozones. It prefers deep, well-drained, sandy soils and is particularly prolific on the mid- slope seep- lines of these Ecozones, where it grows in dense groups of various sizes. It is very common in the higher rainfall areas, such as the Pretoriuskop Sourveld Ecozone.
  • Trichilia emetica - Natal Mahogany : This riverine tree is found along the larger, permanent streams and rivers of the Lowveld, occurring at medium to low altitudes, in woodland, in riverine forest and in coastal forest.
  • Xanthocercis zambesiaca - Nyala Tree : In the Kruger single trees may be seen along the Sabie, and other rivers, but it is more common north of the Shingwedzi, where it grows along the rivers.
  • Ziziphus mucronata - Buffalo-Thorn : This tree is commonly found everywhere, but prefers brackish flat and koppie, open woodland, often in alluvial soils along rivers, and on termite mounds.


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