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Vachellia sieberiana var. woodii

Common names: Paper-barked Thorn (E); umkhamba (Z); Papierbasdoring (A); Mphoka (NS);

Native to: Southern Africa
Tree

Vachellia sieberiana var. woodii

DECIDUOUS

FULL SUN

FROST HARDY

FAST GROWER

FRAGRANT

ATTRACTS BIRDS

ATTRACTS INSECTS

FLOWER COLOUR:

AVERAGE SIZE:

12m x 16m
FLOWERING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D
FRUITING TIME:
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Vachellia sieberiana var. woodii

DESCRIPTION

Formerly known as Acacia sieberiana var woodii, this is a semi-decidous to decidous tree with a large and spreading flat crown. The bark is light brown and corky, peeling off in interesting, large flat sections. The flowers are cream-coloured, scented balls, which attract a host of insects.   It bears long, straight prickles that cause considerable pain when handled incorrectly.  Older trees may loose their thorns completely since the plant doesn’t need protection  from browsers .

WILDLIFE & ECOLOGICAL BENEFITS
The scented flowers entice beetles, bees and butterflies which in turn attract insectivorous birds (e.g. Sunbirds). It is a favoured nesting site for many birds, including Crested Barbets. The pods are favoured by Grey Go-away Birds.
WATER REQUIREMENTS
Water young plants regularly in summer for the first 2 years, thereafter, they should be able to survive on rainfall.
MAINTENANCE
Remove dead foliage from the base of the tree to avoid accidentally stepping on thorns.
LANDSCAPING USES
Suitable for large gardens or street plantings where the roots will not interfere with structures.
GARDEN THEMES
Bushveld, Woodland
BARK
FRUIT
SPINES
CAUTION
The thorns are very sharp so remove fallen branches in areas where people walk.

24 Responses

  1. Hi Walter

    Thank or visiting Plantbook.

    Congratulations on your propagation success.

    In the initial stages, the root and foliage growth is almost the same but will depend on the conditions.

    They prefer minimal disturbance in transferring them to larger containers, so when they reach a height of 15-20cm, transfer them to a 20l container which will be their home for a year or two. By then they should be ready to plant in the ground.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  2. Hi Glenice
    I have been admiring a massive paperbark in our neighbourhood for many years. End last year, I gathered some seeds from below it. I planted 26, 12 came up. 10 seedlings are doing very well. I so chuffed ! 🙂 I have alteady replanted them once, successfully.
    The seedlings are now +-20cm high and in containers +-15cm deep.
    How much depth do the roots require as factor of tree height, please ?
    Thank you for your very useful service !
    Kind regards

  3. Hi Graham

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    A tree with a curved stem can have character and often will develop a crown that will allow it to balance itself.

    Your planting distance of 2m from the house is however of concern as the roots are likely to cause damage later. The recommended planting space for this species from any structure is 6-8m.

    As the tree is not fully grown you may wish to consider removing it and possibly replacing it with a smaller growing species.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  4. A “professional” planted a paper bark thorn tree about 2 m tall with a very curved stem. The tree is totally lop-sided and in danger of falling over. If we remove the top foliage altogether, will it survive? It is only about 2 m from the wall of the house. The alternative is to uproot it altogether. Appreciate your help.

  5. Hi Elarna

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Oh, dear! Thankfully these trees are quite hardy so hopefully yours will recover. It may take a while to produce new growth as it will take time to recover from the damage to its roots.

    Your tree should be quite established so you will have to give it time to recover. Avoid over-watering as that may cause root rot.

    All the best.
    Glenice

  6. Good day,
    Without knowing any better, I trimmed a side root of my paperback causing some paving to lift.
    It has put my 6 year old tree under great distress & it hasn’t produced any new leaves since spring.
    Any advice on a good root nourishment to help repair the damage I’ve caused?

  7. Hi Yolanda

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    The key for any transplant is to dig as large a hole as possible to ensure minimal interference with the roots.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  8. Hi Cliff

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Please do not trim the roots of your trees as this may weaken them and may cause them to die or fall over.

    If they’re fairly large, you probably won’t get much more growth from them. The paving can be easily fixed, but replacing a tree that provides shade, habitat for creatures and enhances the environment will take time and resources.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  9. Hi there,

    At my business premises we have a couple of beautiful paperbark trees, however they are becoming a problem regarding paving and a boundary wall. Is it OK to trim the roots, or will this kill the tree?

  10. Hi Helen

    Vachellia sieberiana grows a horizontally spreading root system which helps to anchor the tree. Roots grow in response to the growing conditions, so you may find that they will, in time, lift the paving. Ideally, it is safe to plant this tree at least 8m from any structure to avoid any damage.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  11. Hello
    Want to plant paper bark thorn tree (acacia) how deep will the roots get and will it lift up the paving that is around it
    Thank you Helen

  12. Hi Gafarou

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    We’re based in South Africa, so are not familiar with most of the species on your list.

    Maturity age will vary depending on the growing environment and species.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  13. Hi. I think my massage mets you well.
    l want to know the initial maturity age of west african trees:
    Acacia sieberiana
    Adansonia digitata
    Annaona senegalensis
    Anogeissus leiocarpus
    Balanites aegyptiaca
    Borassus aethiopum
    Detarium microcarpum
    Khaya senegalensis
    Kigelia africana
    Parkia biglobosa
    Pteroarpus erinaceus
    Tamarindus indica
    vitellaria paradoxa
    Vitex doniana
    Regards…

  14. Hi Justin

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    Yes, Vachellia sieberiana (Paperbark tree) has an aggressive root system. Ideally, they should be planted no less than 6m from any structure to avoid damage when the tree is mature.

    I would recommend you transplant them to a different location.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  15. Hi Glenice,

    I have recently planted two paper bark trees along my driveway, they are about 4m apart and about 1m from the boundary wall and pretty close to the driveway. I just started reading up on this tree and I have picked up that they have an aggressive root system. Is this true and if so should I move them. I’m scared they damage the wall and the driveway.
    Regards
    Justin

  16. Hi Louie

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    There is not a lot of information available on the lifespan of many indigenous trees, possibly because of the effect of different growing conditions. However, research has shown that cultivated trees tend to have shorter lifespans than those growing naturally in the wild.

    I’ve noticed that some Vachellia sieberiana that were planted around Johannesburg about 20 years ago are dying. Possibly because they’ve reached old age, or due to other circumstances.

    So, at 16-20 years, your tree could be at the peak of its life. Hopefully you’ll manage to propagate some young trees from its seeds to ensure the future generations can benefit from this majestic tree.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  17. Hi

    I’ve got a beautiful paperbark in my garden in Pretoria, estimated age between 16 and 20 years. What is the maximum age for a paperbark?

    Kind regards
    Louié

  18. Hi Jolene

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook and congratulations on your new home.

    Vachellia sieberiana is a lovely tree for a large garden. I would recommend a space of not less than 10 metres from your pool.

    All the best.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  19. Hello
    I have had my paperbark in a large pot for about 8 years now . We have recently bought a new house with a large garden. I would like to plant it about 5m from our pool. Would this be recommended or would its root system interfere?
    Looking in advise and recommendations.
    Thank you
    Jolene

  20. Hi Willie

    Thanks for visiting Plantbook.

    It sounds like your vahcellia sieberiana (Paperbark thorn) may be getting too much water. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering again.

    Flourish!
    Glenice

  21. Have transplanted my 10 year old Paperbark 1 year ago.Settled very well.Past 2 months ailing.Forms new leaves but they turn yellow and die off. Watering and feeding.Any advice please.
    Regards
    Willuw

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