Vepris lanceolata is an evergreen tree or shrub reaching 20 m in height in favourable forest conditions (SA Tree List No. 261).
The grey bark of this tree is fairly smooth with longitudinal linear markings or striations. The flowers are small and yellow in dense terminal heads, growing during summer.
The fruit is fleshy, spherical, divided into four sections and black when ripe in autumn and winter. The wood is white to yellow and hard, but flexible or elastic.
The species distribution in South Africa is along the south and east coasts in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, as well as in the north-eastern Lowveld in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. It also grows in tropical Africa as far as Kenya and on the islands of Mauritius and Réunion.
The habitat is evergreen forest, dry forested areas and coastal evergreen thicket in sandy soil and on dunes. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002; http://redlist.sanbi.org).