Macroptilium atropurpureum (Moç. & Sessé ex DC.) Urb.

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Macroptilium atropurpureum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Nyanga to Mutare Rd nr Grange Rd turnoff

Macroptilium atropurpureum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Nyanga to Mutare Rd nr Grange Rd turnoff

Macroptilium atropurpureum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Nyanga to Mutare Rd nr Grange Rd turnoff

Macroptilium atropurpureum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Goldenstairs Road, Thornpark Estate

Macroptilium atropurpureum

Photo: Mark Hyde
Near main house, Canonkopje Crane and Game Sanctuary

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

Synonyms: Phaseolus atropurpureus DC.
Common names: Siratro (English)
Frequency: Local
Status: Introduced
Creeping perennial, ± densely hairy. Leaflets ± broadly ovate or rhombic, 1.5-5 × 1.5-5 cm, the laterals often lobed on the outer side. Inflorescences lax, long-pedunculate, erect. Corolla 17-20 mm; wings blackish-purple. Pod 6-9 × 0.4 cm, densely appressed-pubescent, c.12-15-seeded.
Notes: Introduced for pasture improvement and now a well-naturalised but not very common escape. Fairly frequent on roadside verges in Harare and occasionally seen elsewhere.

In general appearance the species has greyish leaves, erect peduncles and looks generally like a very dark, almost black-flowered Vigna.

The record (3814) by Bart Wursten and Mark Hyde from near Mutare is the first for the Eastern Division and the record (69720) by Malcolm Bethune from Bulawayo is the first for the Western Division.
The earliest known record for Zimbabwe is a specimen in SRGH dated 21 March 1982 collected by G Pope and R Polhill near Mazoe Dam (Pope and Polhill 2077).
Derivation of specific name: atropurpureum: dark purple
Habitat: In disturbed places, most often on roadside verges.
Altitude range: (metres) 490 - 1570 m
Flowering time:Sep - Dec
Worldwide distribution: Native of tropical America.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E
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 22 October 2005

Mackinder, B. et al. (2001). Papilionoideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(5) Pages 159 - 160.

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 49.

Other sources of information about Macroptilium atropurpureum:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Macroptilium atropurpureum
Flora of Malawi: cultivated Macroptilium atropurpureum
Flora of Mozambique: Macroptilium atropurpureum
Flora of Zambia: cultivated Macroptilium atropurpureum
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Macroptilium atropurpureum

External websites:

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

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: Macroptilium atropurpureum., retrieved 20 May 2024

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