Dichrostachys Cinerea * Lantern Christmas Tree * Sickle Rare * 10 Seeds *
Dichrostachys cinerea is a spiny, deciduous shrub or small tree, up to 7 m high, with a rounded crown, 3 m wide. The bark is rough, yellow to grey-brown and frequently fissured and the stem is rarely thicker than 230 mm. The twice-compound, petiolate leaves are very variable in size with 4 to 19 pairs of pinnae and each pinna with 9 to 41 pairs of leaflets, giving it an Acacia-like appearance. The petioles (leaf stalks) are up to 50 mm long and the leaf length varies between 10 and 160 mm. The young twigs are slightly hairy and a characteristic feature is that the spines are not modified stipules but hardened branchlets, ending in a straight, sharp point. The flowers are 25 to 50 mm long, pendulous spikes that are borne in the leaf axils, singly or in bundles. The pleasant-smelling fluffy flowers are lilac in the upper half and yellow in the lower, giving rise to the descriptive name Chinese lantern tree in other countries.
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