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Mopane

Afrikaans name: Mopanie

The distinctive leaves

Mopane tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Colophospermum mopane

Visitors to the region around Letaba and Olifants Camps, in Kruger National Park, can't help but be familiar with the Mopane tree. It is everywhere and it can prove a bit frustrating as these areas are not the best for game viewing.

The leaves of the Mopane tree are its distinctive feature. They are in pairs and are mirror images of eachother. They are like a pair of butterfly wings. The flowers are hardly noticeable as they are small and greenish in colour. The seedpods are produced during Autumn and are kidney shaped.

One species of mammal that has a fondness for the Mopane tree is the Elephant. They enjoy the leaves and seedpods. Domestic cattle can be fed the leaves as well although they apparently take some time to get used to the taste.

Have you ever hear of Mopane Worms? These are a protein rich delicacy that is eaten by many people. These abundant caterpillars are roasted, or they can be dried and stored for a few months.

The distinctive leaves

Leaves of the Mopane tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

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