Acacia erioloba

by Rob
(Reading, Berkshire)

Acacia Erioloba, or the

Acacia Erioloba, or the "Camelthorn Tree" is dense and slow burning, making excellent coals for cooking.

Yes, I know you can't get it in Europe! But when it comes to firewood I think this one is the king.

The Acacia erioloba or "camelthorn" tree is native to southern Africa and is much favoured by giraffe who browse on the upper leaves. The wood itself has a very dark red interior (the xylem) surrounded by a beige-coloured layer (phloem and cambium).

Because of its hardness, it makes tremendously good coals and burns for a very long time; and the smoke gives a lovely flavour to any meat that just happens to find itself on top of the mesh.

For European woods, Ash is probably the best one. There's a poem about firewood written by Celia Congreve which you may have come across:

The Firewood Poem
Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year,
Chestnut's only good they say,
If for logs 'tis laid away.
Make a fire of Elder tree,
Death within your house will be;
But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold

Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last,
it is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom
Oaken logs, if dry and old
keep away the winter's cold
But ash wet or ash dry
a king shall warm his slippers by.

We're emigrating from the UK to a farm in France in the not-too-distant future; we'll be both heating the house and cooking using a wood stove. As for wood, I'm afraid we'll be using whatever we can find - most of the trees are birch.

Hi Rob, Thanks for this. Camelthorn is not a tree I've heard of before but it sounds interesting. I'm guessing here, but it probably grows quite slowly under arid conditions which tends to lead to denser woods.

Moving to France sounds great - they still have a real tradition in rural areas of harvesting and processing their own firewood and you can usually see large stack along field boundaries to get maximum wind and sun exposure.

I hope it works out for you!


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