Zanthoxylum capense is a small tree of 4 m to 7 m only rarely reaching 10 m (SA Tree List No. 253). It grows along the South African east and south-eastern coasts and in the provinces north of the Vaal River. The tree is also common in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and in the east of Lesotho. Its variable habitat includes open bushveld, rocky woodland and slopes at high altitude.
The tree has several attractive features from a gardening perspective, such as appearance, size, being evergreen and resistance to temperature extremes as well as to drought. Beetles pollinate the flowers that are greenish-white, small and inconspicuous. It is, however, not easy to grow from seed.
In the older sources this tree is still called Fagara capensis (Schmidt, 2002; Coates Palgrave, 2002; The Tree Society of Southern Africa, 1974).