Cephalanthus natalensis, commonly known as the strawberry-bush, far far tree or quinine berry, is a scrambling shrub, liane or small tree reaching heights from 4 m to 8 m (SA Tree List No. 685). It branches from low down, the stem often short, the many branches arching. The smooth bark is grey to brown with raised, white lenticels on young stems that start off hairy.
The opposite leaves are simple, growing on kinked, slender petioles, up to 5 mm long. There are thread-like stipules that persist for some time. The ovate to elliptic leaf attenuates into a slender, blunt drip-tip, rounded to flat (square) or broadly tapering at the other end. The glossy and waxy blade is dark green above, paler below and tinged red with domatia present in the vein axils. The leaves are hairless. The margin is entire, wavy and rolled under. Leaf dimensions are 5 cm long and 2,5 cm wide. New growth and autumn leaves are pinkish.
The small, greenish white or red flowers are bisexual, growing in dense, stem-tip clusters, the floral parts occurring in fives. A flower is about 3 mm long, the cluster 3 cm in diameter. The flowers have a faint, musty scent. The calyx is small, the corolla tubular and the stamens included in the throat. Flowering happens from before midwinter to summer.
The ovary is two-chambered and fleshy. The rounded fruits cohere in a strawberry-like cluster, white, pink or red in colour and 2 cm in diameter. The divided segments are one-seeded.
The species distribution is in from the east of the Eastern Cape through KwaZulu-Natal to the Mpumalanga and Limpopo Lowveld, as well as in some neighbouring countries.
The habitat is montane forests and their margins, on rocky outcrops and in high rainfall grassland.
The fruits are commonly eaten by people, animals and birds, sometimes made into a jam. The leaves are browsed. The plant's medicinal use in treating fevers is questioned. The tree can be grown from seed, is suitable for gardens (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Pooley, 1993).