Vitex mombassae Vatke

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Vitex mombassae

Photo: Bart Wursten
By road to Hwange NP, Main Camp.

Vitex mombassae

Photo: Bart Wursten
By road to Hwange NP, Main Camp.

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Synonyms: Vitex flavescens Rolfe var. parviflora Gibbs
Vitex pooara sensu K. Coates Palgrave
Common names: Smelly-berry fingerleaf (English)
Status: Native
Shrub or sometimes a small tree. Bark grey to brown, peeling in strips; growing tips densely covered in orange-tawny hairs. Leaves aromatic when crushed, essentially 5-foliolate but often with outer leaflets deformed or not developed and appearing 3-foliolate. Central leaflet elliptic to somewhat obovate, usually c. 6 × 4 cm but sometimes larger, yellowish-green, with short soft hairs above, more densely hairy below; margin entire; petiolules usually absent, rarely very short on the central leaflet. Petiole 4-9 cm long, with soft tawny hairs. Flowers in few-flowered, axillary heads, obscurely 2-lipped, pale blue or mauve and white to cream; calyx lobes and stalks covered in long tawny hairs. Fruit ellipsoid to almost round, c. 2 × 1.5 cm, fleshy, dark-brown to black, held in the enlarged calyx.
Derivation of specific name: mombassae: of Mombassa on the Kenyan coast, where the type specimen was found
Habitat: Occurring in deciduous woodland and thickets on Kalahari sand but also on rocky outcrops.
Altitude range: (metres) 300 - 1800 m
Flowering time:Oct - Jan
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Limpopo, South Africa
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Saturday 13 February 2010

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Page 571.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 272.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 80. also as Vitex pooara

Smith, P. & Allen, Q. (2004). Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of the Miombo Woodlands Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew ISBN 1 84246 073 0 Pages 82 - 84. (Includes a picture).

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 184.

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 216.


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Other sources of information about Vitex mombassae:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Vitex mombassae
Flora of Caprivi: Vitex mombassae
Flora of Malawi: Vitex mombassae
Flora of Mozambique: Vitex mombassae
Flora of Zambia: Vitex mombassae

External websites:

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

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: Vitex mombassae., retrieved 29 June 2016

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