Species distribution and density. Darker squares represent higher density of members of this family.


Brunia family

The family Bruniaceae is a very distinctive constituent of fynbos, exhibiting the typical characteristic features of fynbos plants. Despite its restricted distribution, it is popular outside the area as cut flowers and cultivated plants.


South African endemic. Mainly found in the Western and Eastern Cape, with one species in southern KwaZulu-Natal. Most species are endemic to the winter-rainfall area.

Number of genera in the world


Number of species in the world


Number of genera in the Flora of southern Africa region



Number of species in the Flora of southern Africa region


Well-known southern African genera

Berzelia, Brunia, Raspalia, Staavia

Growth forms

Subshrubs or shrubs, rarely small trees up to 4 m tall.


In fynbos vegetation on Table Mountain Sandstone formations, often on mountain slopes and along water courses.

Flagship species

Brunia stokoei (rooistompie [A]) is by far the most attractive species in this family. This tall-growing plant with distinctive red flowers grows in the Hottentots Holland Mountains and is quite common in the Betty's Bay and Kleinmond areas. The flowers produce copious nectar, which is sought after by sugar- and sunbirds.


Significance of the family

A number of species are used in the dried and cut flower industry and are often dyed. The material is generally harvested from the wild. A few species are suitable for cultivation in gardens.

Diagnostic characters

Heath-like shrubs (with leaves ericoid to scale-like, hard-textured, imbricate) . Leaves alternate, with minute black tips (at least when young) . Inflorescence a terminal dense spike or spherical capitulum with up to 400 flowers . Flowers tubular and bisexual; sepals 5 , free or connate; ovary inferior. Fruit indehiscent with 2-4 valves; seeds fleshy.

Did you know?

The family Bruniacea is one of three families that are near-endemic to the Cape Floristic Region. There are only four families truly endemic to this region.