Brachystegia microphylla Harms

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Synonyms: Brachystegia tamarindoides Benth. subsp. microphylla (Harms) Chikuni (in part)
Common names:
Status: Native
Deciduous tree 6—12 m in height with flat spreading crown. Bark smooth, grey, flaking with a grey-brown underbark. Dormant axillary buds globose. Leaflets in 25—72 pairs, middle pairs the largest, 5–15 × 1–2 mm, linear to oblong-lanceolate; apex acute sometimes sharply pointed; base asymmetric, truncate; midvein subcentral; petiole 1-4 mm long. Flowers in terminal or axillary panicles; sepals 4 or 5; petals absent. Pods woody, flat, 5—10 cm long.
Notes: The following key, constructed by Meg Coates Palgrave is a guide to separating Brachystegia glaucescens from B. microphylla.

Leaflets in 25–72 closely pectinate pairs, usually touching, middle pairs 5–15 × 1–2 mm, midveins subcentral; petiole 1-4 mm long; in higher rainfall areas ... microphylla

Leaflets in 7–23 pairs, not usually touching, middle pairs 10–30 × 2–10 mm, midveins almost central; petiole 2–6 mm long; widespread ... glaucescens
Derivation of specific name: microphylla: small-leaved
Habitat: Rocky foothills and escarpments in high rainfall and mist-belt areas.
Altitude range: (metres) 1000 - 1800 m
Flowering time:Sep-Oct
Worldwide distribution:
Zimbabwe distribution: E
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 119.

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 241. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 10.

Drummond, R.B. (1972). A list of Rhodesian Legumes. Kirkia 8(2) Page 212.

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

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 43.

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 104 - 105. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Brachystegia microphylla:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Brachystegia microphylla
Flora of Mozambique: Brachystegia microphylla
Flora of Zambia: Brachystegia microphylla

External websites:

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

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: Brachystegia microphylla., retrieved 16 April 2024

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