Kaokoland Trees: Central Highlands

We continue to look at the plants and trees found in the Kaokoland. Today we focus on the central highlands of Kaokoland.

Topography of this region is hilly with drainage lines (water courses) and in many instances deeply cut ephemeral river valleys. Flat sandy areas are found locally between the mountainous areas with the Giribesvlakte in the southwest, the Beesvlakte in the southeast and the Rooivlakte east of Onjuva – making up the most extensive sandy plain areas.

Vegetation on the hilly areas can be described as open woodland and savannah, with mopane Mopane Colophospermum on the flat areas and lower slopes and various species of Commiphora scattered in between and on the mountain slopes and plateaus.

Trees belonging to the genus of Commiphora are abundant and include hairy corkwood Commiphora africana, blue-leaved corkwood C.  glaucesens, satin-bark corkwood C. tenuipetiolata, velvet corkwood C. mollis, tall common-corkwood C. glandulosa and purple-stem corkwood C. multijuga.

Commiphora glaucescens, Sesamothamnus leistneri, Commiphora discolor

Blue-leaved Corkwood. Copyright of Wessel Swanepoel

Commiphora multijuga

Purple-stem corkwood. Copyright of Wessel Swanepoel

Other trees and shrubs include the baobab Adansonia digitata, bottle tree Pachypodium lealii, purple-pod terminalia Terminalia prunioides, shepherd’s tree Boscia albitrunca, Kaoko shepherd’s tree B. microphylla, yellow-bark Acacia Acacia erubescens, red-umbrella thorn A. reficiens, flame-thorn A. ataxacantha, cork bush Mundulea sericea, caterpillar-pod Ormocarpum kirkii, lekkervreet Opilia campestris, African star-chestnut Sterculia africana, mountain albizia Albizia brevifolia, large-leaved sesame-tree Sesamothamnus leistneri,  ringwood tree Maerua schinzii, sneezewood Pteroxylon obliquum, mallow raisin Grewia villosa, python vine Fockea multiflora, ohahi Euphorbia kaokoensis, Windhoek aloe Aloe littoralis, Herero aloe Aloe hereroensis, the yellow and black flowered Turnera oculata subsp. paucipilosa and various species of Petalidium including the attractive red-flowered Kaoko petalidium Petalidium coccineum.

Euphorbia kaokoensis

Ohahi. Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Maerua schinzii

Ringwood tree. Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Pachypodium lealii

Bottle Tree. Copyright Wesel Swannepoel

Sesamothamnus leistneri

Large-leaved sesame-tree. Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Turnera oculata subsp. paucipliosa

Yellow and black flowered Turnera. Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Vegetation on the Giribesvlakte and Rooivlakte is grassland, dotted with bare patches (fairy rings) which are also a characteristic feature of the Marienfluss and Namib Desert in the west.

Information provided by Wessel Swanepoel.

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