Literature, Words, Good food & Wine and other delicious conundrums

Ode to the Kokerboom Tree – for my mother

Oh, to be a Kokerboom tree .  .  .

So robust, magnificent and eternally free

Its jagged fingers reach up to the sky

A haven for creatures and all that do fly!


The Kokerboom or Aloe dichotoma was discovered in 1685 during Simon van der Stel’s expedition to Namaqualand in search of copper.  It is also known as the Quiver Tree from the Bushmen (San) who used the branches for quivers for their arrows.

It is a slow-growing aloe which can grow up to 8 metres.  The leaves are greyish-silver and the flowers, that attract birds and insects, are bright yellow.

The bark, cut into squares was once used to cool primitive houses by feeding water into the fibrous wood from a tank above.

I sighted my first Quiver Tree many years ago on a trip to Augrabies Falls in South Africa and it inspired me to spout poetry!

(So with a smile on my face and a tick off my bucket list: to eventually enter this in my blog!)

These trees form amazing backdrops to scenic photos as they dramatically embrace the sky.

(The first photo was taken by me on my mother’s farm ‘Windkoppie’ outside Calvinia, South Africa 2011.)

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5 thoughts on “Ode to the Kokerboom Tree – for my mother

  1. Really nice to see that you are still busy with your poetry. Love this blog..

  2. Brilliant! Pictures are great, and the poem – what can i say?

  3. So, you are South African? When I visited there in 2009, I saw many, many fantastic things, but not a quiver tree. At my home, here in Canada, I am never without an aloe vera plant in my home. It is so medicinal that I cannot imagine being without it…especially for burns and cat scratches since I’m allergic to that beloved little beastie.

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