Colophospermum mopane (Benth.) J. Léonard

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Colophospermum mopane

Photo: Bart Wursten
Hot Springs, Save valley

Colophospermum mopane

Photo: Bart Wursten
On path to campsite, Sinamatella, Hwange NP

Colophospermum mopane

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near the viewing platform, Masuma Dam, Hwange NP

Colophospermum mopane

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near the viewing platform, Masuma Dam, Hwange NP

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Copaifera mopane J. Kirk ex Benth.
Hardwickia mopane (J. Kirk ex Benth.) Breteler
Common names: Iphane (Ndebele) Mopane (English) Mopani (English) Mupane (Shona) Musharu (Shona) Turpentine tree (English)
Frequency: Common
Status: Native
Small to medium-sized deciduous tree of hot low altitudes. Leaves 2-foliolate; leaflets asymmetric, up to 9 × 5 cm with several veins from the base. A terminal appendage may be present between the leaflets. Inflorescence. up to 7 cm. Flowers greenish. Sepals 4, 2 outer ± 6 × 5 mm, 2 inner ± 5.5 × 4.5 mm, ± reflexed in flower; petals absent; filaments long (up to 6 mm), exserted. Pod 3.5-6 × 2-3.2 cm. Seed ± 2.5 × 1.4 cm.
Notes: In areas where it is heavily browsed by elephants the growth may be stunted and shrubby.
Derivation of specific name: mopane: from the local name in Setswana and many other languages in Southern Africa.
Habitat: Forms stands at lower and mid altitudes of often small to medium-sized trees or thickets of low shrubs; an indicator of low rainfall and shallow poorly-drained Sodium-rich soils.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 1350 m
Flowering time:Oct - Mar (flowering erratic)
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Limpopo, South Africa, just entering northern Mpumalanga.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Gonimbrasia belina (Larval foodplant)
Gynanisa maja (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Monday 1 January 2007

Brummitt, R.K., Chikuni, A.C., Lock, J.M. & Polhill, R.M. (2007). Leguminosae Subfamily Caesalpinioideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(2) Pages 36 - 39. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. et al. (1956). Trees of Central Africa National Publications Trust, Salisbury. Pages 101 - 106. (Includes a picture).

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Pages 202 - 203. (Includes a picture).

Drummond, R.B. (1972). A list of Rhodesian Legumes. Kirkia 8(2) Page 213.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 242.

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 253. (Includes a picture).

Roodt, V. (1998). Trees and Shrubs of the Okavango Delta Shell Field Guide Series: Part I Shell Oil Botswana, Gaberone. Pages 122 - 125. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 63.

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 21. as Copaifera mopane

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 209.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 378 - 379. (Includes a picture).


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Other sources of information about Colophospermum mopane:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Colophospermum mopane
Flora of Caprivi: Colophospermum mopane
Flora of Malawi: Colophospermum mopane
Flora of Mozambique: Colophospermum mopane
Flora of Zambia: Colophospermum mopane

External websites:

Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Colophospermum mopane
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Colophospermum mopane
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Colophospermum mopane
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Colophospermum mopane
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Colophospermum mopane
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Colophospermum mopane
Ispot Southern Africa : Colophospermum mopane
JSTOR Plant Science: Colophospermum mopane
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Colophospermum mopane
Tropicos: Colophospermum mopane
West African Plants database: Colophospermum mopane

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-16

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2016). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Colophospermum mopane., retrieved 20 October 2016

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