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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Zygophyllaceae

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Order: Zygophyllales

Twenty-two genera and 285 species worldwide, of which seven genera and 54 species are native to southern Africa. An additional genus and species is cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Retief (2000).


One species: Augea capensis (in arid region extending from southern Namibia to Northern Cape and Western Cape).


About 30 species (Mediterranean, SW Asia, India, North America, Africa), with three species native to southern Africa.



One species: Neoluederitzia sericeocarpa, which is native to southern Namibia.



Two species, one native to North Africa and India, and the other, Seetzenia lanata, native to the Western Cape and Northern Cape.



One species: Sisyndite lanata, which is native to southern Namibia, Northern Cape and Western Cape.

Tribulus (Devil's thorn genus)

About 25 species, worldwide mainly in warm, arid regions, with six species native to southern Africa.


About 120 species (Mediterranean to central Asia, Africa and Australia), with 41 species native to southern Africa.

Species cultivated in southern Africa

From Glen (2002).

Guaiacum officinale (Lignum vitae)

A tree native to the West Indies and Colombia, which yields a very hard wood (regarded as the hardest wood in the timber trade).


  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Retief, E. 2000. Zygophyllaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 563-565. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.