Notices for Users of the Albums

1. New Albums and some changes


The latest genera Albums added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Metalasia, Brabejum and Bauhinia. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site have been moved from the more general Albums called Shrubs and Trees into their own new Albums under Genera. 


There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 160 such Albums on genera of South African plants. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added! If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types or the Search Box.


In order to access all items on a plant of interest, the Search Box should be used, entering the botanical name of the plant. Most photos and stories on a particular plant are likely to be posted under Genera, (or if there are only few of them, in the conglomerate categories under Types). Habitat, Regions or Parks and Gardens may also contain some material on a species searched for, showing in the list generated when using the Search Box. The latest Parks and Gardens Album is the one on the Quiver Tree Forest.


2. Want to talk about an Album Item?


There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Comments, questions, corrections, information and suggestions can be put to the Editor by using the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.


Similarly, communication regarding the functioning or technical aspects of the Site can be directed to the Webmaster at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Dichrostachys cinerea

Botanical name

Dichrostachys cinerea

Other names

Sickle bush; sekelbos (Afrikaans); Dichrostachys glomerata subsp. nyassana




Usually an untidy looking shrub, very thorny, sometimes a small tree of 4 to 5 m that may form thickets in overgrazed veld

Description of stem

The bark is brown to grey and rough; the multiple branches are haphazardly entwined; numerous small spur branches are partly spines, but often still bear leaves and flowers

Description of leaves

The leaves resemble some acacia species, are bipinnate with many pinnae and leaflets that are darker above than below; small glands occur on the rachis

Description of flowers

Attractive bicolour yellow (at the apex) and pink (at the base) fluffy flower spikes are distinctive identification features; the flower clusters are often pendulous; only the yellow flower components are fertile; the pink part has some colour variations

Description of seed/fruit

Clusters of convoluted, indehiscent seed pods, somewhat similar to those of Acacia tortilis, are borne on long stalks

Description of roots



Its wide distribution across Africa, Asia and Australia is associated with a considerable degree of variation and recorded subspecies (more than 10, but fewer may survive future revisions)

Propagation and cultivation



Hardy in summer rainfall regions; maybe limited in capacity to withstand cold


Leaves serve in traditional medicine for treating diarrhoea, toothache, earache, snakebite, tuberculosis, epilepsy and open wounds; the roots have been used in treating nose bleed, colic and pneumonia; cattle and game browse the pods; the wood is hard and durable and used for making tool handles and fence posts, but seldom yield very large pieces

Ecological rarity

Common, sometimes invades

Pests and diseases





Wooded grassland, may invade degraded and overgrazed areas

Distribution (SA provinces)

Northern Cape; Free State; Kwazulu-Natal; Mpumalanga; Limpopo; Gauteng; North West


South Africa; Mozambique; Swaziland; Zimbabwe; Zambia; Botswana; Namibia; Angola and further northward in Africa; Australia; India



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