Back to Biodiversity Explorer main pageGo to Iziko Museums of Cape Town home pageAbout Biodiversity Explorer - history, goals, etc.Send us your questions about southern African biodiversityPeople who have contributed content and images.Search Biodiversity Explorer

Family: Rutaceae (the citrus fruit family)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Order: Sapindales 

About 161 genera and 1815 species (worldwide), with 23 genera and 298 species native to southern Africa, one genus and species naturalised, and an additional 20 genera and 33 species cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

List is from Victor (2000) with modifications.

Acmadenia

Total of 33 species, endemic to Western and Eastern Cape.

Acmadenia mundiana (Rutaceae)

Adenandra 

The 18 species are endemic to the Western Cape.

Adenandra sp.

Agathosma

140 species, endemic to southern Africa (mainly in the Western Cape).

Agathosma ?serpyllacea

Calodendrum 

One species, Cape Chestnut Calodendrum capense, native to tropical and southern Africa. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Citropsis 

About four species, native to Africa, with one species, Citropsis daweana, native to southern Africa. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Clausena 

About 50 species, native from Africa through to the Malaysian region, with one species, Clausena anisata, native to southern Africa. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Coleonema 

Eight species, endemic to Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

Coleonema album

Diosma 

The 28 species are endemic to the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

Empleurum 

The two species are endemic to the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

Euchaetis 

The 23 species are endemic to the Western Cape.

Fagaropsis

One species, Cape Chestnut Calodendrum capense, native to tropical and southern Africa. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Harrisonia

Four species, native to the Old World, with one species, Harrisonia abyssinica, native to southern Africa, where it has only been recorded from Mozambique.  Harrisonia was previously placed under the Simaroubaceae  (see Angiosperm Phylogeny website). 

Macrostylis 

The 10 species are endemic to the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

Oricia 

Eight species, native to Africa, with one species Oricia bachmannii native to southern Africa.

Phyllosma

Two species, endemic to southern Africa.

Ptaeroxylon (Sneezewood)

One species: Ptaeroxylon obliquum (Sneezewood). Formerly placed in the family Ptaeroxylaceae. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Sheilanthera 

One species, Sheilanthera pubens, endemic to the Western Cape (Koue Bokkeveld near Ceres).

Teclea

About 22 species, native to Africa and the Mascarene Islands, with eight species native to southern Africa.

Thamnosma

About six species, native to America, Sokotra and Africa, with two species native to southern Africa.

Toddalia 

One species, Toddalia asiatica (see Flora of Zimbabwe), native from tropical Africa through to Limpopo Province.

Toddaliopsis 

The two species are native to Africa, with one, Toddaliopsis bremekampii, native to southern Africa.

Vepris 

About 15 species, native mainly to Africa, the Mascarene Islands, and India, with six species native to southern Africa.

Zanthoxylum

About 250 species, native from Africa through to the East Indies, with eight species native to southern Africa.

Genera naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).

Ruta (Rue genus)

Ruta graveolens (Rue, Herb of grace) is naturalised in southern Africa and in addition Ruta chalepensis (Rue, as mentioned in the Bible) is cultivated in the region.

 

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002). The species name is provided in genera that have only one species represented in southern Africa.

Aegle marmelos (Bael, Bengal quince)

Native to India and Burma.

 

Afraegle paniculata (Nigerian powder-flask fruit)

Native to tropical Africa.

 

Balfourodendron riedelianum (Guatambu, Pau marfim)

Native from Brazil to Argentina.

 

Boronia megastigma (Brown boronia)

Native to westen Australia.

 

Casimiroa edulis (White sapote)

A small tree native to Mexico and Central America. It is cultivated for the green to yellowish coloured fruit, which are eaten fresh or used in fruit salads, preserves, sauces, etc. In Mexico, an extract of the seeds is used as a sedative and seeds are said to reduce blood pressure and have sleep-inducing effects.

 

Choisya ternata (Mexican orange blossom)

Native to Mexico.

 
Citrus

Native from northern India to China and south through Malaysia, the East Indies and the Philippines. About seven species and more than seven hybrids are cultivated in southern Africa including familiar fruit such as oranges, naartjies, grapefruit and lemons.

Citrus limon (Lemon)

Correa reflexa

Native to Australia.

 

Eriostemon myoporoides

Native to eastern Australia.

 

Flindersia

Fourteen species, native to Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and the Moluccas. Three species are cultivated in southern Africa, all from Australia.

 

Fortunella (Kumquat genus)

Two species cultivated: Fortunella japonica (Round kumquat) and Fortunella margarita (Kumquat).

 

Geijera parviflora (Wilga)

Native to eastern Australia.

 

Melicope ternata (Wharangi)

Native to New Zealand.

 

Micromelum hirsutum

Native from Burma to Vietnam.

 

Murraya

Twelve species, native Indomalesia to the Pacific. Three species are cultivated in southern Africa including Murraya koenigii (Curry leaf, Kurripulya leaf), which is used for seasoning curries.

 

Poncirus trifoliata (Trifoliate orange)

Native to Korea and northern China.

 

Ptelea trifoliata (Hop tree)

Native to eastern USA and Canada.

 

Skimmia japonica

Native to east Asia.

 

Tetradium

Two species cultivated: Tetradium daniellii (native to China and Korea) and Tetradium glabrifolium (native to eastern Asia).

 

Triphasia trifolia (Limeberry, Myrtle lime)

Native to Indonesia.

 

Publications

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Victor, J.E. 2000. Rutaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 495-. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

 

Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search