When Rain isn’t Really Rain – the Rain Trees of Gonarezhou

When all around you is dry, but the tree you’re standing beneath is unmistakably raining, inevitably you ask yourself questions. When Gus (aka “the African Plant Hunter”) was told as a youngster that the raindrops were actually insect urine, he believed it, and warned all his friends to stay away from the “Rain Tree”. Now, […]

The Fever Tree (Acacia xanthophloea) Part 1: Myths and Legends

When the elephant’s child asked what crocodiles eat for dinner, he was told to find the answer on the banks of the “great, grey-green greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever trees”. In this episode of the African Plant Hunter, Gus goes to the banks of the Runde river, in Gonarezhou National Park, slightly […]

Tree #74 Historic Trees of Zimbabwe – The Giant Ebony of Nyahungwe

Deep in the heart of Gonarezhou National Park, a stand of large Diospyros mespiiformis trees serve to remind us of the times gone by when some of the main exports from Africa were ebony and ivory. Both are found in this magnificent park – the ivory mostly moves around on four legs and doesn’t like […]

How to Repel Elephants from Baobab Trees

Ecologists in Gonarezhou National Park, in the south-east of Zimbabwe, have come up with a simple but ingenious method for keeping elephants from damaging baobab trees. There aren’t many places left in the world suffering from too many elephants, but this extraordinary and beautiful park is one that is. And the poor baobab trees are […]

Tree #70 Historic Trees of Zimbabwe – the Newtonia Grove at Nyahungwe

At a remote spot in the northern sector of Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, stand a grove of uncommon Newtonia hildebrandtii trees. The grove has a mystical, almost supernatural feel to it. Home to elephants, kudu, waterbuck and baboons, it is rarely visited by humans, and is one of only two known examples of the […]

Demons, Toothbrushes and Timber – the Jackalberries of Gonarezhou

If you were walking through the African bush, and you came across a tree whose fruit are said to invoke demonic possession if eaten, what would you do? The Jackalberry (Diospyros mespiliformis) is one such a tree, and Gus Le Breton (aka the “African Plant Hunter”) is exactly the sort of person who would try. […]