Oncoba spinosa is a spiny shrub or small tree that bears large (90 mm wide) showy, sweet-scented, white flowers with masses of yellow, overlapping stamens in the centre, resembling a fried egg. It s known for the snuff boxes that can be made from its hard-shelled fruit. The bark is mottled grey and rather smooth. The young branches are conspicuously speckled with lenticels. The spines are straight and up to 50 mm in length.
Oncoba spinosa is also semi-deciduous and used for medicinal purposes. It occurs naturally in the north-eastern part of South Africa, primarily in Mpumalanga.
It is a slow-growing tree that varies in habit from a shrub, growing to a mature height of 3 - 4 metres in drier areas. The leaves are dark, glossy green in colour, leathery and also have toothed margins.
In the landscape, the snuff - box tree is particularly valued for its large white flowers, which have a mild melon like fragrance and it is often grown as hedge or an ornamental.
Oncoba spinosa is frost tolerant and its root system is non-invasive.This tree favours full sun conditions, and it grows well as on sandy and loam soils.