Vachellia karroo, commonly known as Sweet Thorn, is a small tree that grows 10-20 feet tall and wide. It requires full sun to partial shade exposure, and moderate water. The thick green foliage is adorned with yellow and orange flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Additionally, the thorns or spines make it desirable for providing a boundary and a safe haven for birds.
It is integrally part of Africa's history having been used for everything from raft-making to sewing needles and fencing for the houses of the royal Zulu women. The thorns were even used by early naturalists to pin the insects they collected. The Sweet Thorn tree also offers ethnomedical use. The bark is used in tanning and rope making, while the root is used in traditional medicine. Growing in USDA Zone: 9-10, the mature plant can be cold hardy to at least 30s F for a short time, which makes the tree well suited for cold weather climates.
When it comes to growing and caring for Sweet Thorn, the soil should consist of medium to water-retentive soil and well-drained soil. The tree tends to perform better when mulch is added, so it is advisable to mulch around the roots to help the tree retain moisture. During periods of drought, the tree can react badly and should be watered routinely to maintain its health. For those living in cold climates, caring for Sweet Thorn in a pot is perfectly suitable. It is important to place the pot in a location that is particularly sheltered and well-insulated.
Overall, Sweet Thorn is an exquisitely beautiful and highly versatile tree that adds beauty and medicinal value to any garden.