Mathenge tree is a danger to livestock
The Mathenge tree is known by its scientific name – prosopis Juliflora– and its considered to be poisonous for both humans and livestock. The mathenge tree was introduced in Africa via Senegal in 1822.
Professor Patrick Karuru says the tree has more merits than demerits. This tree which was introduced in Kenya in the 1980s as a means to control soil erosion in the areas where other plants cannot survive.
There are varied stories on how this tree arrived in Garissa, Bura, Hola and Taita. Among the merits that the tree is associated with include its potential use as: charcoal, timber, animal feeds, shade and medicine.
The green pods which contains the seeds have been proven to contain reducing sugars in plenty by livestock causes tooth delay.
In another version of the story, Mathenge is reported to have been a Mau Mau fighter who was captured and detained by the British colonial masters. He was detained at Hola for more than 20 years. After his release, he decided to continue staying in Hola since he would not trace his home village.
Outside Mathenge’s house, there was a tree whose seeds children loved to eat. It was named Mathenge’s tree.
Mathenge is very prolific in terms of production. This is why it is very difficult to control the tree.