Description: Psychotria capensis is an evergreen shrub or small tree, 3-8 m, with a slender stem, horizontal branches and pale brown bark. The leaves are shiny, light to dark green above and paler below, smooth and leathery, They are fairly large, 70-150 x 15-60 mm, elliptic to obovate, opposite and often drooping.
Golden yellow flowers are borne in flattish, terminal branched heads up to 80 mm in diameter from spring to midsummer (August to January). The flowers are followed in late summer to winter (January to July) by large, flat clusters of pea-sized, shiny yellow fruits ripening to red or black.Distribution: Psychotria capensis is found on the eastern side of the country from Knysna through the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal to Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northern Province, southern Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitat ranges from sea level to 1 500 m in evergreen forests, forest margins, shrub and dune bush, edges of rivers and rocky outcrops in high rainfall grassland.
Ecology: Birds such as the Blackeyed and Yellowbellied bulbuls, Redwinged starlings, robins and barbets find the berries irresistible.
Uses and cultural aspects: The wood is hard and fine-grained making a good general purpose timber. It is yellowish brown in colour and has a beautiful finish when varnished. Medicinally P. capensis is used for gastric complaints and root infusions are taken to cause vomiting. In the Amazon, many species of Psychotria are used by shamans and indigenous people for a variety of medicinal purposes. In Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil, the leaves of P. viridis and P. carthaginensis are commonly prepared with ayahuasca ( Banisteriopsis caapi ), to make the ceremonial visionary healing medicine ayahuasca.