Camelthorn (Vachellia erioloba)

Camelthorn (Vachellia erioloba)

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Common Name(s): Camelthorn, Giraffe Thorn

Scientific Name: Vachellia erioloba (syn. Acacia erioloba)

Distribution: Southern Africa

Tree Size: 30-50 ft (9-15 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 74 lbs/ft3 (1,185 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .95, 1.19

Janka Hardness: 3,680 lbf (16,370 N)

Modulus of Rupture: No data available

Elastic Modulus: No data available

Crushing Strength: No data available

Shrinkage: No data available

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is dark reddish brown. Sapwood is yellow.

Grain/Texture: Uniform medium texture.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; solitary and radial multiples; large to very large pores in no specific arrangement, very few; mineral/gum deposits occasionally present; parenchyma lozenge, confluent; medium to large rays, spacing normal. 

Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable; good insect resistance.

Workability: No data available.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Camelthorn. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Considered a protected tree in South Africa, Camelthorn isn’t frequently available. It is sometimes sold as small turning squares and smaller craft blanks. Prices are high for an imported hardwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Fence posts, firewood, turned objects, and other small specialty wood objects.

Comments: So named for the seeds and pods that camels and giraffes (carefully) eat from this tree, despite its long thorns. Camelthorn was formerly placed in the Acacia genus (A. erioloba), but in the mid 2000s the massive genus was divided into five distinct genera (amid much debate), with most African species being reclassified into the Vachellia or Senegalia genera.

Related Species:

Acacia genus:

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