|Maytenus tenuispina in flower|
Endemic to South Africa and eastern Botswana, it is common on rocky outcrops, dip slopes and bushveld, and armed with slender spines of about 25mm long. Leaves are alternate or densely clustered in tufts, elliptic to almost linear, margins irregularly and finely serrate, apex frequently notched.
E. P. Phillips, the South African taxonomist, describes the genus Gymnosporia in his 1926 "Genera of South African Plants" as Sepals 5, sometimes unequal, acute, obtuse, sometimes acuminate, with entire, deeply laciniated or fimbriated margins. Petals oblong to sub-orbicular, with the margins entire ciliated or undulate. Disc deeply 5-lobed, sometimes 5-sided, collar-like or saucer-shaped, with crenate or undulate margins. Ovary 2-4-chambered, with 2 ovules in each chamber; style usually short; stigma 2-4-lobed. Fruit a capsule. Seeds often with an aril.
Maytenus, as do most of the Celastraceae, harbours an alkaloid named celastrin first obtained from Celastrus scandens by Prof. Edward S. Wayne of Cincinnati in 1872 as a white, crystalline substance.  Khat or Catha edulis also belongs to Celastraceae, and in addition to celastrin has edulin, chroline, ratine, tannin and ascorbic acid. 
- SANBI with distribution map
- Image of pressed specimen
- Dressler, S.; Schmidt, M. & Zizka, G. (2014). "Maytenus tenuispina". African plants – a Photo Guide. Frankfurt/Main: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg.
- "Basic Principles of Forensic Chemistry" - Khan, Kennedy & Christian
- "Celastrus.—False Bittersweet. | Henriette's Herbal Homepage". www.henriettesherbal.com. Retrieved 2017-08-01.