Small Knobwood

Scientific Name
Zanthoxylum capense (Thunb.) Harv.
Higher Classification
Fagara capensis Thunb., Fagara magalismontana Engl., Zanthoxylum thunbergii DC. (in part), Zanthoxylum thunbergii DC. var. obtusifolia Harv.
Common Names
Adelaide Spicetree (e), Amabelentombi (z), Amabelezintshingezi (z), Briar-hout (e), Fever Tree (e), Kardamon (a), Karrademon (a), Katdoring (a), Kleinperdepram (a), Klein-perdepram (a), Knobthorn (e), Knobwood (e), Knopdoring (a), Knophout (a), Knoppiesdoring (a), Lemoendoring (a), Lemon Thorn (e), Maagbessie (a), Monokomabêlê (tw), Monokwane (ns), Munungu (v), Murandela (v), Oomsboom (a), Parapis (a), Perdeboom (a), Perdepis (a), Perdepisbom (a), Perdepram (a), Perdepramboom (a), Pramboom (a), Prambos (a), Prambosboom (a), Pramdoring (a), Sekole (tw), Senokomaropa (ns), Small Knobwood (e), Umhlungumabele (z), Umlungumabele (z), Umlungumabele (x), Umnungumabele (z), Umnungumabele (x), Umnungwane (x), Umnungwane Omncane (z), Unnungwane (z), Wag-'n-bietjie (a), White-man's-tit (e), Wild Cardamom (e), Wild Cardamon (e), Wildebriar (a), Wildekardamon (a), Wilde-kardemom (a), Wildekarmonk (a), Wildenartjie (a)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
V.L. Williams, D. Raimondo, N.R. Crouch, A.B. Cunningham, C.R. Scott-Shaw, M. Lötter & A.M. Ngwenya
This is a widespread and common species. It is harvested in moderate quantities for medicinal use, and is not suspected to be in danger of extinction.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West
This species is widespread across eastern South Africa, extending northwards to Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Albany Thicket, Forest, Indian Ocean Coastal Belt, Savanna
It occurs in bushveld and forest margins. It germinates readily in plantations of the exotic Acacia melanoxylon (Cunningham 1988).
Roots of this species are used for traditional medicine. It is harvested in moderate quantities and sold in medicinal plant markets in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga (V.L. Williams, pers. comm. 2008).
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Zanthoxylum capense (Thunb.) Harv.Least Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Boon, R. 2010. Pooley's Trees of eastern South Africa. Flora and Fauna Publications Trust, Durban.

Coates Palgrave, K. 1977. Trees of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Cunningham, A.B. 1988. An investigation of the herbal medicine trade in Natal/KwaZulu. Investigational Report No. 29. Institute of Natural Resources, Pietermaritzburg.

Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J.C. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Cape Town.

Pooley, E. 1998. The complete field guide to trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei. Natal Flora Publications Trust, Durban.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Schmidt, E., Lotter, M. and McCleland, W. 2002. Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park. Jacana, Johannesburg.

Williams, V.L., Raimondo, D., Crouch, N.R., Cunningham, A.B., Scott-Shaw, C.R., Lötter, M. & Ngwenya, A.M. 2008. Zanthoxylum capense (Thunb.) Harv. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2020.1. Accessed on 2022/07/01

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Distribution map

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