Acacia xanthophloea Benth.
The fever tree is an attractive, semi-deciduous to deciduous tree approximately 15 to 25 meters tall and has an open, rounded to spreading or flattish crown which is sparsely foliated. The characteristic, almost luminous, lime green to greenish-yellow bark is smooth, slightly flaking, and coated in a yellow powdery substance described by some as sulphurous. If the powdery surface is rubbed away with the finger it will reveal a green bark beneath. Young twigs have a red-brown bark which peels off leaving the twigs sulphur yellow. The long straight white thorns are arranged in pairs and although they are very significant on young trees they often become barely noticeable on mature specimens.
Bright yellow, golden, ball-like flowers which are sweetly scented are borne in clusters on shortened side shoots at the nodes and towards the ends of branches. Flowering occurs from August or September to November. Flowers are followed by the production of yellowish- brown to brown pods which split open to reveal the small hard brown seeds, which may be harvested from January to April.
Native to the following countries in Africa: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe. It has also become a landscape tree in other warm climates. It grows naturally in Zimbabwe and South Africa near the Limpopo River
The name comes indirectly from its tendency to grow in swampy areas. Early settlers in the region thought that malarial fever was contracted from being around the trees, when in fact the fever was spread by mosquitos living in the swamp.