For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How the Fever Tree got its name

In the early part of the 1800's when the settlers were heading from the Cape inland and discovering the area around Kruger National Park, this tree was blamed for their bouts of malaria.
It only grows where there is water on the edge of streams and rivers.
The flowers...
The bark is a yellowish-green. This plant has root nodules containing nitrogen fixing bacteria as do most members of the Mimosaceae family and these play an important role in the nitrogen enrichment of soils which then has a positive impact on the growth of plants around the fever tree. The dappled shade underneath the canopy is ideal for smaller plants which require protection from the full brunt of the suns rays but still require sufficient light.
The bark is covered with very fine yellow powder and they thought that it was this which caused them to be sick. In those days, the name "malaria" was not yet known, but they did get high fevers supposedly from the tree and so called it the Fever Tree (Acacia xanthophloea).