The fever tree is a medium to large african tree, fast-growing and short-lived, which can reach 45-75 feet in height. It develops a somewhat spreading vase-like crown with branching occurring up the trunk. Its bark is yellowish to greenish, smooth and slightly flaking. The species name means "yellow bark." new twigs are purple tinged. Pairs of straight white spines, 3-4 inches long, are borne at branch nodes. The leaves are green, bipinnate, up to 4 inches long, with a hairy midrib; leaflets small, about 3/8 inch long. Flowers are borne in clusters on a slender stalk forming a golden ball of fragrant blooms, which attract bees and other insects. Several clusters occur together with a tuft of leaves and thorns. Fruits are pods, straight, somewhat papery, grayish brown when mature, and 2-8 inches long. Each pod contains 5-10 seeds; they are used for propagation. Livestock and wild animals feed on foliage and pods. The fever tree prefers sandy soils, well-drained, develops a deep tap root and is a hardy tree which can tolerate frost. It is grown in africa for its wood and for fuel. In landscape cultivation, it is a well-shaped decorative tree with feathery foliage and colorful flower clusters. A street, specimen or accent tree, it can also serve as a boundary planting.
In traditional medicine, the leaves and bark are used for preparing medicines for sickle cell anemia, malaria and eye diseases. The rubbery resin is a food additive for donkeys. The leaves are used for feeding cattle. The flowers contain nectar for bees. The bark is traded in local commerce for medicinal uses. In its natural habitat the tree is fed on by elephants (that break its branches) and monkeys.