Cnestis polyphylla Lam.

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Synonyms: Cnestis bullata Baill.
Cnestis glabra Lam.
Cnestis lurida Baill.
Cnestis natalensis (Hochst. ex Krauss) Planch. & Sond. ex Sond.
Fagarastrum natalense Walp.
Omphalobium discolor Sond.
Sarmienta cauliflora Sieber
Zanthoxylum natalense Hochst. Hochst. ex Krauss
Common names: Itch-pod (English)
Status: Native
Large woody climber, scandent shrub or small tree with trailing branches. Leaves alternate to sub-opposite, imparipinnate, up to 20 cm long with 3-9 pairs leaflets and a terminal one, somewhat leathery, shiny green above, blueish-green and sometimes velvety and with a prominent midrib beneath; lateral leaflets oblong, 2-4 cm long, asymmetric at the base; terminal leaflet obovate, 2-5 cm long. Inflorescences on bare branches below the leaves or on the old wood, racemose, 4–8 cm long, most parts densely cinnamon hairy. Flowers small star-shaped, white to cream or yellowish-green;sepals and petals free. Fruit a recurved and beaked follicle up to 2·5 cm long, brown to orange-red, hairy.
Derivation of specific name: polyphylla: many-leaved
Habitat: In forest patches and along margins or in riverine fringes.
Altitude range: (metres) 1100 - 1200 m
Flowering time:Sep - Oct
Worldwide distribution: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape South Africa. Also in Madagascar.
Zimbabwe distribution: W,E
Growth form(s): Climber, tree, liane.
Endemic status:
Red data list status: Vulnerable
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 177. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 14.

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Pages 252 - 253.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 239. As Cnestis natalensis

Golding, J.S. (ed.) (2002). Zimbabwe Plant Red Data List. Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. SABONET 14 Page 163.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 36.

Mendes, E.J. (1966). Connaraceae Flora Zambesiaca 2(2) Pages 616 - 617. As Cnestis natalensis (Includes a picture).

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 142 - 143. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Cnestis polyphylla:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Cnestis polyphylla

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Cnestis polyphylla
African Plant Database: Cnestis polyphylla
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Cnestis polyphylla
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Cnestis polyphylla
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Cnestis polyphylla
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Cnestis polyphylla
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Cnestis polyphylla
JSTOR Plant Science: Cnestis polyphylla
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Cnestis polyphylla
Plants of the World Online: Cnestis polyphylla
Tropicos: Cnestis polyphylla
Wikipedia: Cnestis polyphylla

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Cnestis polyphylla., retrieved 18 May 2024

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