The distribution of Sarcostemma viminale, also known as the caustic vine, is widespread over the drier, hotter parts of South Africa. An American name of Rapunzel plant has been encountered. It also grows almost all over southern Africa as well as in the tropical regions of the continent.
The common habitat is grassland and bushveld. A robust grower in a variety of climatic conditions and soil types, the plant has become a troublesome weed in some places within its natural habitat as well as where it has become introduced. This plant will scramble over and strangle neighbouring vegetation.
The Greek word sarkeios used in the generic name means fleshy. Stemma means garland and viminale (Latin) with long slender shoots (Germishuizen and Fabian, 1982; Letty, 1962; www.repository.up.ac.za).