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the web of life in southern Africa

Osyris compressa (Coastal tannin-bush, Cape sumach)

Kuslooibas, Pruimbas, Bergbas, Basboom, Basbessie, Basbos, Bloupruim, Jakkalspruim, Pruimbos, Bessiebas, Looibos, [Afrikaans]; inTekaza, umBulunyathi [Xhosa]; umBulunyathi [Zulu]

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 > Order: Santalales > Family: Santalaceae > Genus: Osyris

Osyris compressa (Cape sumach), Kleinmond, Western Cape (top left, top right, bottom left) and Kirstenbosch (bottom right). [photo H. Robertson, Iziko ]

Hemiparasitic shrub or small tree growing to a height of about 5 m. In the Cape, flowers from December to June. Fruit is a red to black drupe. Occurs from the Western Cape through to tropical Africa.  


  • Usually a shrub, but can grow into a small bushy tree, growing to a maximum height of about five metres.

Distribution and habitat


Ecological interactions

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Species native to southern Africa

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Text by Hamish Robertson