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A picture of a Buffalo thorn (Eng.)

Buffalo thorn (Eng.)

Ziziphus mucronata

Also known as

Blinkblaar-wag-'n-bietjie (Afr.), Umphafa, Umlahlankosi, Isilahla (isiZulu), Umphafa (isiXhosa), Umlahlabantu (Swazi), Mokgalo (Tswana), Mutshetshete (Venda), Mphasamhala (Tsonga), Mokgalô, Moonaona (N Sotho)

Ziziphus mucronata by Marianne Le Roux (

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Buffalo thorn (Eng.)

A photo of Buffalo thorn (Eng.)
A photo of Buffalo thorn (Eng.)
A photo of Buffalo thorn (Eng.)
A photo of Buffalo thorn (Eng.)
A photo of Buffalo thorn (Eng.)

Buffalo thorn (Eng.) Overview

Small to medium size tree with spreading canopy. Thorns facing 'forward and back' and zigzag stems when young. It was used to face to the future and past in traditional Zulu and Sotho culture and a tree planted when a chief passed away as part of the burial ceremony. The wood proved to be strong timber for kraal posts. During Autumn the leaves turn yellow, adding color to the scene. National tree of South Africa 2017. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape.

Common problems with Buffalo thorn (Eng.)

Insects and other wild gazers love the leaves!

    How to harvest Buffalo thorn (Eng.)

    Roots and bark are used medicinal and harvested as needed. Seed stay on the tree for long times and can be picked during winter.

    How to propagate Buffalo thorn (Eng.)


    Fresh seed works best- remove the hard outer layer with a nut cracker and soak in warm water for 2 days. Place in moist sand to allow germination. Usually seedlings will start to grow in 2 weeks!

    Special features of Buffalo thorn (Eng.)

    Hedge plant

    Often plated to form dense hedging or kraal to keep cattle safe from wild animals.

    Attracts birds

    Attracts useful insects

    Autumn colour

    Yellow leaves.

    Other uses of Buffalo thorn (Eng.)





    Other uses



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