The fluorescence characteristics of South African hardwoods and their extracts were studied to determine their value in wood identification. Heartwood specimens and water and ethanol extracts of a1together 179 species representing 108 genera and 46 farnilies were exarnined in longwave ultraviolet light. Additional tests were conducted for the presence of Aluminium natural saponins. The findings of this research correspond with the current knowledge on wood fluorescence. The families Leguminosae, Rutaceae and Anacardiaceae showed positive fluorescence for the majority of their species. Platylophus trifoliatus is the only indigenous species with a positive reaction to the test for Aluminium. The froth test for natural saponins in wood has variable results, restricting its significance in wood identification. These results show that fluorescence is a useful characteristic in wood identification and may be applied as a rapid and easy test to verify certain identifications.