Elephantorrhiza burkei, the elephant root, sumach bean or in Afrikaans basboontjie, varies much in size, between a 30 cm shrublet and a tree of 6 m (SA Tree List No. 193). The habitat mainly consists of rocky slopes in bushveld. In South Africa this species is found throughout the northern parts of the country. It also grows in some other southern African countries.
E. burkei is deciduous. The flowers are small, creamy white, getting yellow when older. There is a small red gland at each flower base. The fragrant flowers grow in sparse spikes of 10 cm, appearing in spring, simultaneously with the leaves.
The fruit is a red-brown, pendulous, woody pod. Old pod edges can be seen persisting on the plants well after disintegrating and the seeds gone (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002).