SPRING IS IN THE AIR

SPRING IS IN THE AIR WITH SJAMBOK POD FLOWERS EVERYWHERE…

The sjambok pod burst into sunny sprays of masses of yellow flowers in August, as it does every year, bringing our first sign of spring in the southern hemisphere.  This is always one of the first trees to blossom in the Lowveld, and the flowers brighten the dry landscape through to October.  The tree is easily identified throughout the year by its exceptionally long pods which remain on the tree for most of the year.

A TREE FOR EVERY OCCASION

The sjambok pod is one of the neatest indigenous trees for the garden or patio containers, and is one of the most interesting trees to train as a bonsai, with the plant resembling the adult tree after only three years.  

Found from Somalia in northern Africa through to Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) in southern Africa, the leaves are eaten by giraffe, kudu and nyala, whilst the fruit pulp and seeds are very popular with parrots, the go-away bird (grey loerie) and the hornbills.

MEDICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SJAMBOK POD

Various parts of the tree are used in traditional medicine, powdered root for relief of backache, powdered bark for relief of abscesses and the treatment of bilharzia, smoke of burnt branches is inhaled to relive headaches, and an infusion made from the bark and roots is used for the relief of abdominal pains and toothache.

The sjambok pod is part of the flamboyant family. Other trees include the mopane, weeping boer-bean, pod mahogany, pride of de Kaap, and weeping wattle.

Just last week in the Timbavati – the week before the start of spring – we saw the sjambok pod in full bloom and captured a few photos below…