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 north of the Limpopo, to look closely at the fever trees there. With their striking yellow bark, and their preference for riverine areas, early European explorers to Africa quickly made a connection between the Acacia (now Vachellia) xanthophloea trees and malarial fever, hence the name. But the human fascination for the many properties of the fever tree goes as far back as the ancient Egyptians and in this, the first of a two-part series, Gus explores some of the myths and legends the surround this enigmatic tree.
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