Bobgunnia madagascariensis (Desv.) J.H. Kirkbr. & Wiersama

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Bobgunnia madagascariensis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Osborne Dan Recreational Park

Bobgunnia madagascariensis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near the carpark, Cleveland Dam, Harare

Bobgunnia madagascariensis

Photo: Mark Hyde
Harava Dam

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

Synonyms: Swartzia madagascariensis Desv.
Common names: Mucherekese (Shona) Snake bean (English)
Frequency: Common
Status: Native
Usually a small deciduous tree, 3-4 m in height. Stems and branches often much twisted and contorted; bark dark grey rough and fissured. leaves imparipinnate with 5-11 alternate to subopposite leaflets; leaflets elliptic to obovate, 2.5-7 cm, leathery, dark green and hairless above, yellowish velvety below. Flowers in lax 2-10-flowered sprays, with one large white petal and a mass of orange yellow stamens, sweetly scented. Pod cylindric, up to 30 cm, dark brown to black when ripe, indehiscent.
Notes: The pods are said to be poisonous but this is doubtful as they are readily eaten by cattle without any negative effects.
Derivation of specific name: madagascariensis: from Madagascar, but this is misleading as it does not occur there
Habitat: Deciduous woodland and wooded grassland, often on sandy soils.
Altitude range: (metres) 990 - 1570 m
Flowering time:Sep - Nov
Worldwide distribution: West Africa, D.R. Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Caprivi.
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: Abantis zambesiaca (Larval foodplant)
Deudorix dinochares (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Saturday 27 January 2007

Brummitt, R.K., Harder, D.K., Lewis, G.P., Lock, J.M., Polhill, R.M. & Verdcourt, B. (2007). Leguminosae Subfamily Papilionoideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(3) Pages 24 - 26. As Swartzia madagascariensis (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 335. As Swartzia madagascariensis (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 9.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 6.

Coates Palgrave, M. (1989). Guide to the trees and shrubs of the Mukuvisi Woodlands ?publisher. Page 44. as Swartzia emadagascariensis

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Pages 228 - 229. as Swartzia madagascariensis (Includes a picture).

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

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 244. As Swartzia madagascariensis

Drummond, R.B. (1981). Common Trees of the Central Watershed Woodlands of Zimbabwe. Natural Resources Board, Harare. Pages 82 - 83. as Swartzia madagascariensis (Includes a picture).

Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1967). The influence of copper content of the soil on trees and shrubs of Molly South Hill, Mangula Kirkia 6(1) Pages 63 - 84. As Swartzia madagascariensis

Kirkbride, J.H. & Wiersema, J.H. (1997). Bobgunnia, a new African genus of the tribe Swartzieae (Fabaceae, Faboideae) Brittonia 49(1) Page 704.

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 51. As Swartzia madagascariensis

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 62.

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 86 - 87. (Includes a picture).

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 22. as Swartzia madagascariensis (Includes a picture).

Sturgeon, K.E. (1954). A Revised List of the Grasses of Southern Rhodesia, Part IV. Rhodesia Agricultural Journal 51(1) Pages 122 - 126. as Swartzia madagascariensis (Includes a picture).

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 213. as Swartzia madagascariensis

Other sources of information about Bobgunnia madagascariensis:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Bobgunnia madagascariensis
Flora of Caprivi: Bobgunnia madagascariensis
Flora of Malawi: Bobgunnia madagascariensis
Flora of Mozambique: Bobgunnia madagascariensis
Flora of Zambia: Bobgunnia madagascariensis

External websites:

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

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: Bobgunnia madagascariensis., retrieved 24 June 2024

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