Acacia mellifera is a dense very thorny shrub in the seasonally dry lowland tropics of the African continent, although it sometimes develops into a tree 6-9 m tall. It is widespread in dry bushland, thornveld and wooded grassland, and is found mainly on clay-rich or calcium-rich soils. A shallow-rooted nitrogen-fixing species, its protein-rich leaves provide a useful browse.
Clean burning, it valued as fuelwood and also for making charcoal, its wood being hard. The stems seldom grow thicker than a man’s arm, but it is prized for making fenceposts and axe and pick handles. In its native range, it is also used for live fencing and yields an edible gum. It flowers prolifically and is a valuable honeybee plant, its specific epithet mellifera referring to producing honey.