Colophospermum mopane is a small to a large tree, 4 m to 18 m in height, some even reach 30 m, but those grow beyond the South African borders (SA Tree List No. 198).
This is the dominant species in large, uninterrupted tracts of tropical southern Africa land. This domination often does not manifest itself in the form of the tall trees, the cathedral mopanes, but what is known as mopane scrub, where soil and plant density permit pure stands, monoculture-like, of large mopane shrubs rather than big trees.
The species belongs to the Caesalpinioideae subfamily of the Fabaceae or pod-bearing family. It is found in high temperature, low altitude flats and floodplains, often in alkaline soils and poor drainage terrain where it competes very effectively against the other tree species of the region.
Mopane bark as visible on the tree in picture is dark grey and deeply fissured vertically into narrow strips (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002).