Shepherd’s Tree

Shepherd’s Tree (Boscia albitrunca)   This picture was taken during an early departure from the Lodge. The Shepherd’s Tree is widely found in Black Rhino Game Reserve and there is one believed to be around 700 years old. The common name ‘Shepherd’s Tree’ comes from the fact that in the drier parts of its range (these trees are especially abundant in Namibia), herdsmen use the tree for shade when tending their flocks as there is little else on offer. The tree has many human uses and is colloquially referred to as ‘the tree of life’ for its ability to provide so much to people living in dry places. The Shepherd’s Tree is so vulnerable a resource that local cultures protect the tree, forbidding its destruction. The  tree is very obvious where it grows due to its white trunk and flat almost umbrella-like canopy. It usually grows in arid or sandy, stony areas where it stands out all the more. The wood of the Shepard’s tree is heavy and tough, but is most frequently only fashioned into household utensils. Traditional folklore suggests that should wood from this tree be burnt cows will produce only bull calves.


(Ref: Game Ranger in our Back Pack. All-in-one interpretative guide to the Lowveld. Megan Emmeff and Sean Patrick)