The seed pods of Vachellia sieberiana var. woodii are seen here on a young tree in semi-deciduous condition at the end of winter in the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden. The pods are broad, straight, pendulous and woody. They vary in shades of pale brown and also in being hairless to densely velvety. The pods are rarely dehiscent, i.e. splitting open when mature along a built-in line of weakness along the edges of the pods, in order to release the ripe seeds.
Differences occur across the tree's natural distribution in leaf, flower, spine and other detail. These differences are therefore repeated in the cultivated specimens available in the nursery market.
These days the National Botanical Gardens sell some interesting plants at their own on-site nurseries. This contributes to financing of Garden operations, as well as enabling citizens to increase the indigenous content of their home gardens.
SANBI websites also keep everyone posted as to which species are coming under threat and how to grow many of the favourite plants (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997; Wikipedia; www.plantzafrica.com; www.redlist.sanbi.org).