When the green-thorn or torchwood becomes tall, there is typical stem fluting on the trunk, resembling that on a Greek temple column and conspicuous in the lower parts. The bark is grey and smooth on younger stems, cracking and fissuring into irregular blocks on old ones.
Lower branching that spreads is usually lost on these trees as they mature, while some branches may veer to the vertical next to the main trunk and remain. These typically cohere and contribute to the folding, buttressing, twisting and almost weaving of a composite, multistemmed trunk as in the photo.
Maybe the elephant browsing of young torchwood shoots contribute to this by pruning some of the younger trunks into the lasting shape. The stem appearance is a give-away regarding tree identity.
All the effort below is not for nothing, as the spreading crown over the tall trunk results in a quite stately shape for the green-thorn.
The heavy, durable wood of Balanites maughamii is hard and fine-grained, lacking heartwood. It is used for making tools and smaller utensils including gun-stocks and handles (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002; Pooley, 1993).