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. Its flowering season is spring, generally from September to February.
Each flower produces a mass of flat, coiled green pods that turn brown and later fall to the ground. Each pod contains a large number of seeds; young pods are curved, resembling sickles.
Uses and cultural aspectsDichrostachys cinerea makes impressive bonsai specimens. The hard and durable wood is also termite resistant, making it ideal for fence posts. It is also used to make tool handles, milk pots, smoking jars, and fibre from the bark. It is often planted to serve as live fencing and as a fodder. The roots are used as a local anaesthetic for ailments such as snake bites, scorpion stings and toothache. In Botswana, parts of the tree are used as a tapeworm cure. It also makes high quality firewood.