The jackalberry tree is a large deciduous tree found in the African savannas, and is also called African Ebony. It got its name because jackals, among other animals, eat its seeds and these seeds are found in their dung (feces)!
The tree has a dark rigged bark, with a thick growth of leaves, which are; oval shaped, and eaten by many savannah animals like elephants and buffalo.
This plant has as an interesting feature; it grows on anthills (termite mounds), and this is one of its main adaptations to the hot dry climate of the savannah. These termite mounds help nourish and moisturize the plant providing the plant with aerated soil. The roots provide the termites protection and in return, these termites never eat the jackalberry tree’s wood!
The young trees do not lose their leaves, but the older they get they start shedding leaves. This adaptation helps the tree conserve much needed energy, by allowing the growing tree enough nutrition until it is old enough to provide for itself.
Unlike other trees and plants, these trees have separate male and female trees. The female tree produces fruit not the male tree.
Its leaves are oval shaped; about 3 inches wide with smooth or wavy edges and these have adapted to the savannah climates to provide maximum photosynthesis without the danger of transpiration.