Maytenus oleoides, the rock false candlewood, is a small tree or sometimes only a shrub, growing a rounded, often dense crown at a height of about 4 m (SA Tree List No. 400).
The tree is distributed from the Richtersveld to the Cape Peninsula and eastwards along the south coast to around Uitenhage. Its habitat is rocky mountain slopes or forest margins in fynbos, renosterveld or scrub as may be present in parts of this large, variable area. Both winter and summer rainfall regions, as well as low and high rainfall parts characterise this terrain.
Creamy white flowers flecked with brown grow in tight axillary clusters during winter and spring. The flowers are small and inconspicuous.
The globose, yellow fruit is two-lobed and fleshy. It reaches 1 cm in diameter before it dries to an orange colour. When ripe in early summer it dehisces, releasing the seeds, each completely covered in a yellow aril (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010).