Buffalo thorn is a small tree with grey, fissured bark with sparse rounded crown. It has a tap root. The leaves simple, shiny, asymmetrical with 3 veins from the base (this separates it from all other species at Kwapa Training Camp. The flowers are small and creamy-yellow and appear during summer.
The fruits were used as a coffee substitute; some tribes believe that this tree, with its straight and hooked thorns, tell us to look to the future (straight thorn) but not to forget the past (hooked thorn). Despite the sharp thorns, the leaves of this plant are browsed by giraffe and other mammals. The leaves are chewed as an aphrodisiac
Protective mechanism: the re-curved thorns make these trees unattractive food for most browsers.
Z. mucronata grows in most habitats with a preference for riverine areas with good alluvial soil