Strychnos spinosa is a tree indigenous to tropical and subtropical Africa. It produces, sweet-sour, yellow fruits, containing numerous hard brown seeds. Greenish-white flowers grow in dense heads at the ends of branches (Sep-Feb/Spring - summer). The fruits tend to appear only after good rains. It is related to the deadly Strychnos nux-vomica, which contains strychnine. The smooth, hard fruit are large and green, ripen to yellow colour. Inside the fruit are tightly packed seeds, which may be toxic, surrounded by a fleshy, brown, edible covering. Animals such as baboon, monkeys, bushpig, nyala and eland eat the fruit. The leaves are a popular food source for browsers such as duiker, kudu, impala, steenbok, nyala and elephant.
The Spiny Monkey Orange is well known for its numerous medicinal applications for which the leaves, fruit and roots are used. The hard, dry shells of the fruit are carved with designs and sold as curios as well as being used as sounding boxes for musical instruments such as the marimba. The hard timber from the tree is used for carved decorative items, as well as carpentry, implement handles, hut poles and fighting sticks.