Balanites maughamii is a less known, slow-growing, protected tree in South Africa (SA Tree List No. 251). It grows erectly and tall, sometimes to 25 m. The marked fluting or folding and buttressing on the stems of older trees is distinctive. This young specimen with stems branching low down, still covered in leaves and forked spines similar to those found on Carissa shrubs, was seen in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Upper branchlets tend to have a zigzag shape; they are green and hairy.
The tree grows in the east of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, the north of KwaZulu-Natal, but more commonly in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and several other tropical Africa countries to Malawi. It occurs in dry, open bushveld, woodland and forest, often near water (Coates Palgrave, 2002; www.plantzafrica.com).