Gymnosporia buxifolia (L.) Szyszyl.

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Gymnosporia buxifolia

Photo: Bart Wursten
Leopard Rock Game Reserve, Vumba

Gymnosporia buxifolia

Photo: Bart Wursten
Leopard Rock Game Reserve, Vumba

Gymnosporia buxifolia

Photo: Bart Wursten
Leopard Rock Game Reserve, Vumba

Gymnosporia buxifolia

Photo: Mark Hyde
Bridal Veil Falls, Chimanimani

Gymnosporia buxifolia

Photo: Mark Hyde
Bridal Veil Falls, Chimanimani

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

Synonyms: Maytenus heterophylla (Eckl. & Zeyh.) N. Robson subsp. heterophylla (pro parte)
Common names: Common spike-thorn (English)
Status: Native
Variable shrub or small tree, usually with somewhat drooping branches, armed with long straight spines. Leaves usually clustered on very short dwarf spur-branchlets in the axils of the spines or occasionally on green spines, more or less narrowly obovate-oblanceolate, mostly 2.5-4.5 cm long, rarely longer, green and hairless on both surfaces but often paler beneath; margin finely an irregularly toothed, normally only in the upper half. Flowers whitish, in many-flowered heads among the leaf clusterson strongly and unpleasantly scented. Fruit a subspherical, 3-lobed capsule, c. 10 mm in diameter, greenish-yellow to greyish-brown and wrinkled when dry.
Derivation of specific name: buxifolia: with leaves like a Buxus sp.
Habitat: In a wide range of habitats, often as a pioneer in disturbed places.
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:Mostly Feb - Jun
Worldwide distribution: Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe,Lesotho, Swaziland and 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: Wednesday 13 June 2012

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 506. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C., Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 19.

Chapano, C., Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 19. As Gymnosporia heterophylla

Coates Palgrave K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 604.

Coates Palgrave, M. (1989). Guide to the trees and shrubs of the Mukuvisi Woodlands ?publisher. Page 18. as Maytenus heterophylla

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 42.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F. (1989). The flora and phytogeography of the evergreen forests of Malawi. I: Afromontane and mid-altitude forests; Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 59(1/2) Page 28. As Maytenus heterophylla

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 255. As Maytenus heterophylla heterophylla

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 33.

Robson, N.K.B. (1966). Celastraceae Flora Zambesiaca 2(2) Pages 364 - 366. as Maytenus heterophylla subsp. heterophylla (in part) (Includes a picture).

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 336 - 338. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 45.

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 42.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 122 - 123. (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 90. As Gymnosporia heterophylla

Other sources of information about Gymnosporia buxifolia:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Gymnosporia buxifolia
Flora of Malawi: Gymnosporia buxifolia
Flora of Mozambique: Gymnosporia buxifolia
Flora of Zambia: Gymnosporia buxifolia

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Gymnosporia buxifolia
African Plant Database: Gymnosporia buxifolia
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Gymnosporia buxifolia
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Gymnosporia buxifolia
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Gymnosporia buxifolia
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Gymnosporia buxifolia
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Gymnosporia buxifolia
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Gymnosporia buxifolia
iNaturalist: Gymnosporia buxifolia
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Gymnosporia buxifolia
JSTOR Plant Science: Gymnosporia buxifolia
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Gymnosporia buxifolia
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Gymnosporia buxifolia
Plants of the World Online: Gymnosporia buxifolia
The Plant List (version 1.1): Gymnosporia buxifolia
Tropicos: Gymnosporia buxifolia
Wikipedia: Gymnosporia buxifolia

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-19

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2019). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Gymnosporia buxifolia., retrieved 22 October 2019

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