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Bullhorn Acacia is best known for its symbiotic relationship with a species of Pseudomyrmex ant (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) that lives in its hollowed-out thorns. Its species were considered members of genus Acacia until 2005.
This is a bushy shrub that can be trained in a handsome small tree. It blooms with canary yellow powder puffs, sweetly fragrant.
This is one of South Africa's most beautiful and useful trees. 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!
Bark used in tanning, rope making and production of edible gum. The root is used in traditional medicine.
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping.
This tree is easily propagated from seed that has been immersed in boiling water and soaked overnight. Protect young plants from frost. They are suited to medium to large gardens. Allow these magnificent trees the space to show off their wonderful shapes - don't crowd and clutter them.
This tree is half-hardy and very fast-growing with fertile soil and sufficient water, and tolerates temperatures ranging from about -2C to +40C.
The name comes from the shape of the thorns which do indeed resemble the horns of a bull. The tree has a strong, symbiotic relationship with a species of ant, Pseudomyrmex sphaerocephala for which it is the obligate habitat. The ants act as caretakers for the tree, and clear the ground and keep it free of any other plants and even prune surrounding branches of other trees that threaten to outshade the acacia. Without the protection of the ant colony, the acacia tree would fall vulnerable to chewing insects such as beetles or caterpillars, and surrounding trees and shrubs would quickly outcompete the acacia without the maintnance work of the ants to keep the tree safe.
Close related species - Acacia collinsii.