The word miombo is Bantu for the oak-like trees that characterize these central and eastern African woodlands. Miombo trees grow interdependently with a tree-root fungus that increases their mineral uptake from the soil. Mopane trees can grow to heights of more than 25 meters (80 ft) if the soil is rich, but these adaptable trees can also grow in poorly drained or clay soil.
These unique woodlands are home to many large mammals, including giraffes, elands, rhinos, and the largest population of African elephants
Among the reptiles are endemics such as the Zaire centipede-eater (Aparallactus moeruensis
), Platysaurus maculates, Dalophia luluae
, carved worm lizard (Monopeltis scalper
), and the Katanga beaked snake (Rhinotyphlops kibarae
Bird species such as the black-faced waxbill
), Miombo rock-thrush
), and the Miombo pied barbet (Tricholaema frontata
) are also found here.
An estimated 8,500 plant species grow in the Central woodlands, about half of which are endemic. Rich in reptiles, the region has 46 endemic species.