5 Common Plants in the Savanna

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The savannas is one of the six biomes and falls between a desert and a rainforest. Savannas are known for tall grass, sparse trees, a seven-month average wet season and months of drought in the dry season. Because of these long periods of drought, the savannas only supports a select number of plants that have adapted to these harsh conditions. Savannas are present in numerous countries and states, including Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Brazil, India, Australia and the Everglades of Florida.

The Senegal gum acacia is a small thorn tree found in the savannas of Africa. It’s characterized by yellow flowers and branches covered with spikes. This plant grows in sandy areas and can survive without rain water for up to 11 months. When it does absorb water, the acacia plant oozes a type of gum that can be used to make gum Arabic. The plant is also known as kher or kumta.

Elephant grass is native to Africa and can grow up to 10 feet tall. It is characterized by a purple-green hue, coarse stems and razor-sharp leaves. The coarse stems and sharp edges make the grass difficult for animals to graze on and provide protection for the plant. The grass usually grows in rich soil near bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. Elephant grass is also known as Napier grass or Uganda grass.

The candelabra tree is a 30- to 40-foot tree that grows in a variety of savannas, including those in Africa, the East Indies and near the equator. The tree is best known for its poisonous white sap, which can cause blisters on the skin, blindness and burning of the lungs. The branches of the candelabra tree branch out close to the trunk and grow upwards at a 30-degree angle, making the tree resemble a candelabra.

Bermuda grass is native to Africa, but it is now found in warm climates throughout the planet, including Bermuda. The matted grass is characterized by gray-green leaves, 1- to 4-inch blades, and rough edges. Because Bermuda grass is a creeping grass, it moves along the ground, and roots where a node touches the earth. Formally named cynodon, it is also known as Bahama grass, Devil’s grass and couch grass.

The river bushwillow can be found in African savannas such in Madagascar, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria. The bushwillow typically grows along riverbanks and can grow up to 35 feet tall. It’s characterized by yellow flowers, erratic branch growth, and it bears a poisonous fruit labeled Samara. The bushwillow is used for a variety of commercial products from de-worming dog medication to hot glue.

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