Trees and Flowers
There are 90 different varieties of acacia trees in East Africa one of them is flat-top acacia. It is a large tree with a flat crown that grows 6-20 meters in height. You can find it throughout East Africa at the edges of highland forest and in wooded grassland from 1200 to 2300 m. It has thorns of variable size but usually not longer then 3 cm. It might even be without thorns. It is a very useful tree for fuel as wood and charcoal. It’s timber is used for bridge-building, posts etc. Some tribes are using it as food because it has edible gum and it is useful for a shade.
It’s otherwise exotic tree, native to South Africa. This unusual, solitary evergreen tree grows 10-18 m in height and it has a massive trunk, none of the branches below and a lot of them on the top that form a rounded crown. Leaves are very long and narrow. Leaves can have up to 90 cm in length. It has fruit with many seeds. It can grow in almost any climate and any soil type but it’s used only ornamental.
Jack fruit tree is exotic tree native to region between India and Malaysia. It is an evergreen tree that grows to 5 m in height, occasionally also to 20 m. Generally found at the coast. Jack fruit is very common in Uganda where it has become naturalized. Leaves are oval and up to 15 cm long. Jack fruit has flowers and fruits on the trunk or larger branches where the world’s largest known fruit then develops. Fruit is massive and irregular in shape, up to 20 kg in weight and up to 1 meter in length. It’s a good tree for a shade which yields gum. The fruit when ripe is sweet and edible. Wood is in many cases used for general timber (doors, furniture, carts…) and also as fuel and charcoal.
Mango tree is exotic tree in Tanzania but native to northern India and Burma. It is densely leafed evergreen tree with rounded crown. It can grow 10 to 15 m in height. It is one of the most popular fruit trees in tropics, planted from sea level to 2000 m. The bark is dark brown and it can crack with age. Dark green leaves are up to 30 cm long and crowded at the end of branches. It has numerous cream to pinkish brown flowers. Fruit is large and heavy. It grows up to 15 cm in length of variable shapes. It’s ripe when it has green to yellow, orange or red colour. Each fruit has a large seed surrounded by golden juicy flesh. Mango is rich in vitamins A and C. The flesh of the fruit is eaten when ripe. It’s also used for fresh juices and jam. The wood provides a good fuel but it’s also used for the construction of small-boats and canoes.
Sausage tree is indigenous type of tree with a rounded crown that grows to a height of 9 m in open woodland and 18 m in areas by the river. It’s wide spread throughout East Africa. It can be found in west savannah and rivers in dry areas from the coast to the highlands at altitude from sea level to 1.850 m. It got the name because of the fruits that look like large grey-green sausage. Heavy fruit is 30 to 70 cm long and when unripe is poisonous. Ripe fruits, although inedible, are baked and sliced to help fermentation of local beer.
Silver oak is indigenous tree. It’s tall tree with grey-green foliage and steeply ascending branches that form a narrow crown, dividing close to the ground. The species grows from 10-18 m in height, in exceptional cases up to 30 m. It occurs in upland forest and lowland dry forest at altitude of up to 2000 m, and is often prominent above the forest canopy. Leaves are narrow, spear shaped and up to 10 cm long. Flowers are very small and white. Male and female flowers are on different trees. It has tiny seeds that look like white fluff once they have fallen on the ground. The wood is hard, strong and durable. It is used for general timber, woodcarving, poles, posts and as fuel.
Another indigenous tree is a fig tree. This is evergreen tree with 16 m in height and occasionally epiphytic. It is a huge, shady tree with a powerful root system. Fig tree may have aerial roots. Often it grows in wetter forests, riverine forest or woodland, occasionally on rocks at altitude between sea level and 2000 m. Fruit is ripe when it has green to yellow or orange colour. It is softly hairy. The ripe figs are much favoured by birds, monkeys and baboons. Leaves are used as fodder.
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