Fifteen of the twenty (all African) Euclea species grow in South Africa, a couple (Euclea racemosa, E. natalensis and E. crispa) comprising several subspecies.
The genus is made up of trees and shrubs with a few subshrubs and suffrutices. All the eucleas are dioecious, i.e. male and female flowers growing on separate trees. The leaves are alternate, simple and leathery.
The flowers grow in axillary racemes, in clusters differently formed or solitary. Calyces are persistent and four- or five-lobed, not enlarging during the fruiting stage. The corolla is also lobed, either shortly on the mouth or deeply in a bell-shape. Male flowers grow from ten to thirty stamens, some female flowers having vestigial male components in the form of sterile staminodes. The filaments are free or variously joined in the different species. Female flowers have ovaries with two to six locules and one or two styles, the ovaries positioned on fringed, fleshy discs.
The fruit is a spherical berry bearing one, sometimes up to three seeds. The seeds are divided into three parts by a curved line, somewhat like those on a tennis ball.
The plant in picture may be E. schimperi, photographed in Limpopo (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Leistner, (Ed.), 2000).