The bark of the white stinkwood or Celtis africana is smooth and pale grey. A little flaking and some lichen can be seen on this one. The young branches are densely hairy. The white of the common name is related to the whiteness of the wood, in evidence when a tree dies and the bark drops off, exposing it. The stink part of the name comes from the smell when the wood is freshly cut. This link with the real stinkwood, Ocotea bullata, is unfortunate as the two species are not at all related, the name causing confusion.
Another indigenous tree that is sometimes confused with C. africana is Trema orientalis or pigeonwood. The latter species has differently shaped, horizontal or slightly ascending side branches (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002).