Nandi Flame Tree
The Nandi Flame is also know as:
English: African tulip tree; Kipsigis: Sebetaiyet; Luhya: Mutsulia; Luhya (Bukusu): Kumuchirisia, Kumusesi, Kumuchuri; Luo: Nyawend agwata, Madungudungu; Nandi: Sebetaiyet; Pokot: Repko; Teso: Ekakale (from Useful Trees and Shrubs for Kenya 2005 Eds Maundu P and Tengnas).
There is also a Nandi Flame Tree with yellow flowers which is fairly common in Nairobi. It is a hybrid so it doesn’t grow from a seed.
You can find more information on the Nandi Flame Tree on the World Agroforestry data base. Click here.
Nandi flame trees are pollinated by insects, birds and bats. To find out more about important pollinators in Kenya, have a look at this book.
Invasive Plants in Kenya
Prosopis juliflora comes originally from the American continent. People brought it to Kenya in the 1980s thinking it would be perfect for farmers and pastoralists in dryland areas because it grows fast, can resist drought and livestock can eat its pods. In the 1980s and 90s well-meaning people planted Prosopis all over Turkana, Baringo and North Eastern province. It spread incredibly fast (animals ate the pods and deposited seeds everywhere) and has now become a serious invasive species. It grows in dense thorny thickets which are almost impossible to clear, reducing the amount of grazing land, competing with crops and reduce biodiversity as it crowds out local plants.
The Lantana bush (Lantana camara) comes from the American tropics. It was brought to Kenya, as an ornamental plant, in the 1950s and now grows uncontrollably in many parts of the country. It crowds out other plants, is poisonous to livestock and is a home for tsetse flies.
Some people consider the Eucalyptus tree an invasive species because other plants can’t grow underneath it. It comes originally from Australia and was brought to Africa in the 1930s. It has been planted all over the country because its enormously useful for timber for poles and construction.
The Black Wattle (Acacia Mearnsii) is a useful tree in Australia and for that reason was introduced in many other areas of the world, including Kenya. It is now considered one of the worst invasive species in the world. It crowds out other plants competing with them for water and nutrients. Where this tree has taken hold it threatens the biodiversity of the area.
To find out more invasive species in Kenya (plants, insects, fish and birds) visit the FAO website http://www.fao.org/3/y5968e/y5968e10.htm