home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Celtis gomphophylla (Rough-leaved white-stinkwood)

[= Celtis durandii]

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: Rosales > Family: Cannabaceae > Genus: Celtis

Celtis gomphophylla (Rough-leaved white-stinkwood)
Celtis gomphophylla (Rough-leaved white-stinkwood)
Celtis gomphophylla (Rough-leaved white-stinkwood)

Celtis gomphophylla, Chirinda Forest, Zimbabwe. [photo Bart Wursten , Flora of Zimbabwe]


See comparison of native Celtis and Trema species. A large tree growing to a height of 25 m, found in forest. The main character distinguishing this species from others in the genus is that the leaves are elongated terminally to form a drip tip.

Distribution and habitat

Coastal strip of KwaZulu-Natal, touching into southern Mozambique. Also eastern Zimbabwe and western Mozambique. Beyond southern Africa, its distribution extends to Nigeria in West Africa, but it appears to be absent from East Africa.

Ecological interactions


  • The wood has a bad smell, noticeable even from decaying wood. There is no mention of it being used as timber.

  • In rural areas, the bark of trees is evidently hung by some in homes to ward off snakes.



  • Palgrave, K.C. and Palgrave, M.C. 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. 3rd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  • Palmer, E. and Pitman, N. 1972. Trees of Southern Africa covering all known indigenous species in the Republic of South Africa, South-West Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. Volume 1. A.A. Balkema, Cape Town.
  • van Wyk, B. and van Wyk, P. 1997. Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Text by Hamish Robertson