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African Tree Types

By Caroline Fritz ; Updated September 21, 2017

Africa has a tropical climate ranging from rain forest in the central part of the country, to a savanna climate in the west and south with a wet and dry season, and a desert climate in the northern part of the country. Tropical trees are fast growing and short lived. Trees found in Africa include the fever tree, the fiddleleaf fig and the henna tree.

Fever Tree

The fever tree is a member of the Fabaceae family, a large family of trees, woody vines, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Members are both deciduous, like the fever tree, and evergreen. The fever tree ranges in height from 50 to 70 feet. Found throughout South Africa, the tree grows in low-lying areas such as swamps and along rivers and lakes, according to South African National Biodiversity Institute. The smooth bark is yellow green to lime green and covered in a yellow powder. The twigs of the tree are reddish brown in color that peels off, revealing a yellow underbark. The fever tree is covered in thorns, which are white and grow in pairs. The timber is used in the construction of boxes and the branches are used for fencing. Birds nest in the branches and the leaves and flowers are eaten by animals such as baboons, elephants, giraffes and monkeys.

Fiddleleaf Fig

The fiddleleaf fig is an evergreen tree found in west and central Africa. A small tree, the fiddleleaf fig grows to a height of 40 to 50 feet. Found in tropical forests, the tree is planted for shade or as an ornamental tree, according to the University of Florida Extension. The dark bark ranges in color from brown, black or gray and has deep grooves and cracks. The tree is susceptible to breakage in strong winds. The fiddle-shaped leaves are dark green and leathery, with noticeable veins and wavy edges. The twigs have dark brown thorns near the base of the leaves. The figs are round and green-brown with white spots when ripe.

Henna Tree

The henna tree grows in northeast Africa, primarily Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopa. The tree is cultivated for its leaves, which are crushed to make henna dye, and used to temporarily color hair, skin, nails and teeth. The tree is also planted as shrub or used in hedges. The tree grows to a height of 30 feet. The branches and trunk are gray with thorns. The leaves are oval-shaped and gray green. The flowers bloom throughout the year and can be white, pink, red and yellow green. The round fruit is red and contains numerous seeds.


About the Author


Caroline Fritz has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience, mainly for publications in northwest Ohio. She is currently an editor for a national technical magazine focusing on the construction industry. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.