isiXhosa: umZane

Afrikaans: witysterhout

White Ironwood


White Ironwood

Vepris lanceolata

Scientific name

The white ironwood is mostly an evergreen shrub or small tree of up to 5 m in height, but can reach a height of 20 m in dry forest areas. The bark is smooth and grey to dark grey in colour.

The leaves are trifoliolate, leathery, alternately arranged on the stem, and hairless. The leaflets are narrowly elliptic in shape, with the margins entire and markedly wavy; the apex tapers to a more or less rounded point. As the plant belongs to the Rutaceae family, the leaves are densely covered with gland-dots and have a lemony scent when crushed.

The flowers are small, inconspicuous, star-shaped and arranged in terminal heads or panicles and are greenish yellow in colour. The male and female flowers are borne on different trees. The white ironwood flowers from December to March.

The globose, 4-locular fruit of about 5 mm in diameter is covered by a smooth, thin, fleshy cover that turns black when ripe. The fruit is covered with gland-dots that have the same lemony scent as the leaves. The fruit ripens from May to July.

The wood is hard, heavy, strong, elastic and even-grained with a whitish to pale yellow colour.

References and further reading

Learn more »

PlantZAfrica profile »

Wikipedia page »

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.
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Nursery Quantity
Mother Nursery 1
Total 1

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Important characteristics

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

It provides medicinal value

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