Strychnos madagascariensis, commonly the black monkey-orange, is a small, shrubby tree with wide canopy reaching heights from 2 m to 8 m (SA Tree List No. 626).
It is densely branched, sometimes multistemmed. The smooth bark is pale grey. The tree is unarmed although the short, rigid side-shoots may appear spine-like.
The opposite leaves cluster near the tips of small branchlets. They are elliptic, obovate to nearly round in shape, tapering or rounded at the tip and tapering to the base. The leaf margins are entire, often hair-fringed, sometimes scalloped. The glossy, dark green to grey-green blades are pale below, the texture thickly leathery. They are sometimes hairy on both surfaces or only on the midrib below and three-veined from the base.
The tree is deciduous or semi-deciduous. Leaf dimensions are 2 cm to 10 cm long and 1 cm to 6 cm wide. Many animals eat the leaves and the fruit.
The species distribution is in all provinces north of the Vaal River and KwaZulu-Natal, as well as in tropical Africa and Madagascar.
The habitat is bushveld, often on rocky outcrops and in riverine and coastal thicket. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002; Pooley, 1993; http://redlist.sanbi.org).