What is a tree?   The Wikipedia definition is: A tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns, bananas and bamboos are also trees. The most used reference book in Zimbabwe is probably the Keith Coates Palgrave TREES of Southern Africa which has been revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave. This book includes cycads and  aloes as well as  palms, tree ferns, bananas and bamboos. The countries covered by this book are Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique south of the Zambezi River.

Map of Southern Africa Source: globalcitymap.com

Map of Southern Africa Source: globalcitymap.com

Whilst on tree walk outings, we often come across parasitic plants. These plants live off the host tree and sometimes are the cause of the tree’s demise.

Trees don’t really want to be eaten and thus some are armed with thorns, prickles or spines whilst some trees have chemical defenses.

Trees have many types of inflorescence and also many types of fruit. Here fruit is what contains the seeds and follows the flowering stage. Apart from the well-known commercial fruits, most fruits are unpalatable to man.

There are many botanical terms used for plants and these can be seen in the Flora of Zimbabwe Glossary