Trichilia emetica subsp. emetica or Natal mahogany and in Afrikaans rooiessenhout, is an eye-catching tree (SA Tree List No. 301). It becomes medium-sized to large, reaching heights of up to 25 m, but commonly 10 m. The tree is evergreen or briefly deciduous.
It grows in riparian and coastal forests or woodland in warm, high rainfall climates of north-eastern South Africa and tropical east Africa. Only T. emetica subsp. emetica occurs as far south as South Africa.
The bark is brown or grey, rough or smooth. The composite leaves have about five leaf pairs as well as a terminal one. Leaflets are oblong to elliptic, the base rounded to tapering and the tip rounded or notched. Leaflet surfaces are glossy dark green above, covered in curled hairs below with prominent, cream-coloured midribs. Leaf margins are entire. Closely spaced lateral veins ascend in parallel to the margins where they curve forward slightly. Leaf petioles are long and velvety, up to 12 cm, while the leaflet petiolules are short and thick (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002).