KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Al-Haraz tree, known by its scientific name acacia albida and winter thorn and apple-ring in English, is a large thorny tree up to 30 meters high and two meters in diameter.
Contrary to the World’s other flora, al-Haraz drops its leaves during the rainy season and keeps them throughout the dry season. It has a brown bark, a cream-coloured branching stems and blue-green bipinnate leaves with 3-12 pairs of pinnae.
Its roots can reach 80 meters deep in the ground in search of moisture.
Haraz trees grow widely across the Sudan, with preference for sandy soil.
Former General Manager of Sudan’s National Forests Corporation, Dr. Abdelazeem Mirghani, in his Doctorate thesis has asserted that the haraz tree had originated in Darfur’s Jebel Marra region that hosts the thickest of the World’s haraz forests.
Dr. Mirghani states that Professor Peter Tigrishtdt as head section of forestry at the Helsinki University was very much obsessed with this tree that he called it “The Crazy Tree” because it sheds its leaves at a time when other trees grow them. This characteristic is helpful to the farmers in that it allows them to grow their crops beneath the haraz tree that does not prevent sunshine from reaching the crops as it is the case with other trees and does not compete with the crops for rain water.
The tree is important for bee keepers because it has the advantage of producing flowers at the end of the rains when most other local plants do not.
The haraz tree had won attention unprecedented thanks to this unusual characteristic. This attention reflects in Sudanese proverbs, songs, poetry and drama. For instance the folks often liken bitter animosity between two persons to “the war between the haraz and rain”. A strong steadfast person is also often likened to a haraz tree.
The public cherishes conflicting ideas and beliefs about the haraz tree. Some people believe it to be a home for the jinn, while others consider it as a blessed tree.
Boiled haraz bark, roots or leaves are used to treat diarrhea, coughs, fever, bleeding and colds. The tree’s fruits are also taken as an antidote for diarrhea. The haraz leaves are excellent fodder for animals, in particular because it is available during the dry season. The fluoride-rich bark is used as a tooth brush.
The strong Haraz timber is used in house building and roofing. The haraz door was a source of pride for its owner in the past. Haraz wood is also used in boat building.
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