Medium to large evergreen tree. Bark dark brown, rough. Leaves elliptic, 5-15 cm long, hairless, glossy dark green above, paler beneath with distinct, darker veining; margin finely toothed with 1-2 glandular dots between the teeth near the base; petiole 1-2 cm long, channelled, often reddish. Inflorescences 7-15-flowered, axillary, 3-7 cm long. Flowers white, small with 10-20 stamens. Fruit wider than long, up to 1.2 cm in diameter, red to purple-brown, very bitter.
Derivation of specific name
Bole: Straight/slightly buttressed. Large/small. To 36 m. Bark: Dark brown/black/grey. Scaling in squares/longitudinally fissured. Slash: Pink; discolouring orange/brown. Smells of cyanide. Leaf: Simple. Alternate. Petiole: 1.5 cm. Channelled. Lamina: Small/medium. To 15 × 5.2 cm. Elliptic/ovate. Cuneate/rounded. Acute/acuminate/obtuse. Serrate. Glabrous. Domatia: Absent. Glands: Absent. Stipules: Small. Linear 0.2 cm long. Falling. Thorns & Spines: Absent. Flower: White/cream. Axillary raceme 3.5 - 8 cm long. Hermaphrodite. Fruit: Red/red-brown ellipsoid drupe 0.7 cm long; 1.1 cm in diameter.
Ghana, Nigeria, Bioko, São Tomé, Cameroun, DRC, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho and Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Southern Cape, South Africa.
Montane Africa (to East and South Africa) and Madagascar. This species is one of about ten Pan-African montane tree species (including e.g., Agauria salicifolia, Ilex mitis
and Myrica arborea
) and is not remotely in danger of extinction, so long as some montane forest survives somewhere within its enormous range.
Eastern Arc Mountains; Lake Malawi region; Lake Tanganyika region; Lake Victoria region; Madagascar; northern Tanzania; southern Africa; tropical Africa