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Knob-thorn African Bonsai for sale | Knoppiesdoring | Senegalia nigrescens

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Can Knob-thorn be grown as a bonsai?

Knob-thorn (uniquely identified by it's scientific name Senegalia nigrescens) is a bushveld thorn tree with hooked thorns. It is a general rule that all hooked thorn trees are suitable to grow as bonsai trees. (Search #ThorntreeAfricanBonsai) Knob-thorn is known for its beautiful, twice compound leaves, and characteristic knobs on its trunk and major branches. It is a deciduous tree. As a bonsai, it will bring the seasonal rhythm of Africa into your home. It's growth rate is medium-fast and the tree will achieve a mature bonsai look after about 3 years. Knob Thorn is an ideal candidate for inclusion in our African Bonsai product range (#AfricanBonsai). The distribution of Senegalia nigrescence is shown in Figure 1.

Distribution Senegalia nigrescenc-crop_edited.jpg

Figure 1. Distribution map of Senegalia nigrescens. Courtesy Keith Coates  Palgrave 2002.

Cities per country (dots) from left to right:

Namibia  -Walvisbay


South Africa  -Cape town

                       -Gqeberha (previously Port Elizabeth)


                       -East London



Botswana   - Gaberone

Zimbabwe  - Harare

Mozambique - Maputu

                       - Beira

Knob-thorn African Bonsai shapes and size

Our size and shape information is based on observation in the bushveld, experience gained by growing Knob-thorn at our Treeshop nursery and descriptions found in authoritative handbooks.

We observed that young Knob-thorn trees have an up-right growth form with radial branches from low down, giving the tree a cylinder-like appearance. Mature trees have ascending branches and a somewhat irregular, round crown. We estimate that in the bushveld it took many years (perhaps even decades) for the species to develop this appearance. (Photos to follow.)

The Table below gives approximate height that Knob-thorn bonsais may achieve in different containers sizes:

Container size          |  2-6 Liter  |  25 Liter  |  80 Liter  

Bonsai tree height   |     30cm    | 70cm       |   120cm  

Knob-thorn is browsed by many antelope species. It is also a favourite of giraffe and elephants. Consequently, one finds intriguing shapes in the African bush. We will exemplify these shapes with photos in due course.

How do I care for my Knob-thorn bonsai?

Knob-thorn responds well to pruning and you can easily develop a dense foliaged canopy. It is best to place the tree in full sunlight during its growing period (from just before budding up to full leaf shedding). Provide for good air circulation around the tree. We recommend that you induce leaf shedding during late autumn by cutting back on water. This will force your bonsai tree into a resting period. You can (and should) take it inside if your winter temperatures fall below zero.

Water needs depend on climatic conditions and leaf mass. The species quickly “closes” it leaves when under water stress. Generally, it requires moderate water in summer and almost nothing in winter.

Feed your Knob-thorn African Bonsai with a balanced fertilizer in spring when budding is imminent, and again in mid-summer. More on this topic on our blog post. (To follow)

Knob-thorn is not pest prone. The best way to control pests is to keep it in in a sunny, well-ventilated spot. Keep your tree healthy and avoid the use of pesticides.

Knob-Thorn African Bonsai stock for sale

African Bonsai trees stock for sale | AfricanBonsai


To enquire, please fill out our contact form. Remember to provide stock numbers (printed in yellow on image) for the products you are interested in.

Stock available in small pots (2-6 Liter). 

Knob-thorn bonsai for sale | #knobthornafricanbonsai | Knoppiesdoring
Knob-thorn bonsai for sale | #knobthornafricanbonsai | Knoppiesdoring
Knob-thorn bonsai for sale | #knobthornafricanbonsai | Knoppiesdoring

Stock available in medium pots (25 Liter)

Work in Progress

Stock available in large pots (80Liter)

Work in Progress

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