Quiver trees of the sandy and rocky semi-desert don’t exercise their gregarious tendencies as strongly as the woody residents of rain forests. They keep distance; no soft option or fast tracking in store for the seeds that germinate in the shade right next to an ancestor or compatriot. Shortage of moisture rather than an excessive need for personal space would feature among the causes.
Succulence, thick leaf skins and smooth, hard bark endow these trees for exposure to full sun throughout all seasons and climatic cycles. Tree spacing serves to maximise exposure to sunlight here. Still called a forest though, stretching the definition of the word in an unexpected direction. If aloes can be trees, quiver trees can form forests?
Aloidendron dichotomum flowers deliver large quantities of nectar, avidly consumed by insects, birds, and mammals. The trees play a noted role in the local late winter festival of floral colour and veld food abundance for which Namaqualand is famous. They add height, a rare feature in vegetation of the northwest, appreciated or at least well used by birds of the neighbourhood.
There is an Album on a Quiver Tree Forest on this Site in the Parks and Gardens Section. A few of these forests exist in Namaqualand and Namibia, although many quiver trees grow solitary or are sparsely scattered in rocky places of their mostly dry homeland.