(Pronounced “teroxillon)

  • Sneezewood (E)
  • Nieshout (A)
  • umThati (X)
  • ubhaqa (Z)


  • 292


  • Rutaceae


  • This is a medium to large tree that is fairly fast growing (between 0.4 to 1m per annum). In the Montane forests it can grow up to 20m tall but in the Bushveld and drier areas it remains a small tree reaching approximately 3m in height. It is a very hardy tree, being drought resistant and able to withstand moderate frost. The young stems are smooth, pale, and blotched, becoming darker with age with long narrow cracks and inclined to flake. The timber is an attractive pinkish to golden brown colour with a fine grain. The roots are non-invasive.

Please note that this tree is protected.


  • The leaves are opposite and asymmetrical with 3 to 8 leaflets per leaf and are dark green to blue-green in colour, forming a small neat

  • This tree is normally evergreen, with the foliage sometimes colouring in autumn and winter crown


  • The fragrant flowers grow from an axil and have four petals. The buds are creamy yellow in colour. Once opened the flowers are white with a bright orange centre. The male and female flowers are on separate trees. They appear from August to December.


  • The fruit is an oblong capsule which is notched at the tip. They become reddish-brown and are heavily veined. They split open into two valves, releasing two winged seeds. The fruit appears between December and February.


  • The wood is hard and durable and is highly valued as timber to make fence posts, buildings, hut poles and knobkieries. The wood used to be used to make railway sleepers. It is known to burn well, making bright, hot fires and used as tinder to make fires by friction. The trees were felled for fuel and for their value as timber, making them scarce today and the reason for being protected.
  • In Mozambique the wood is used to make xylophone keys.
  • The bark is used as snuff to relieve headaches.
  • Pieces of wood are placed in cupboards to repel moths.
  • Resin from the heated would is used to treat warts.
  • Powdered bark is added to a wash to kill cattle ticks.


  • Butterflies, bees, and birds are attracted to these trees.


  • The Ptaeroxylon obliquum can be found from the Eastern Cape (where it used to be common) through to Tanzania.