Cussonia arborea Hochst. ex A. Rich.

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Cussonia arborea

Photo: Bart Wursten
Gatsi CL, below Mtarazi Falls

Cussonia arborea

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cleveland Dam, Harare

Cussonia arborea

Photo: Bart Wursten
Quarry kopje, Cleveland Dam

Cussonia arborea

Photo: Bart Wursten
Braai site, Haka game park

Cussonia arborea

Photo: Petra Ballings
4x4 Club, Donnybrook, Arcturus Road, Harare

Cussonia arborea

Photo: Petra Ballings
4x4 Club, Donnybrook, Arcturus Road, Harare

Cussonia arborea

Photo: Bart Wursten
Harare-Mutare road between Macheke and Headlands.

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

Synonyms: Cussonia kirkii Seem.
Common names: Mufenje (Shona) Mushondya (Shona) Mutobvi (Shona) Octopus cabbage tree (English) Umelemele (Ndebele)
Frequency: Common
Status: Native
Small to medium sized deciduous tree. Bark rough and corky, pale brown. Leaves digitate or palmate with 5-9 ovate-elliptic leaflets; margin crenate or dentate, sometimes entire; petiole up to 50 cm long. Flowers small, borne in terminal clusters of slender spikes up to 50 cm long. Fruit borne along the elongated spikes, spherical, c. 5 mm in diameter, thinly fleshy, purple when ripe.
Notes: See C. natalensis and C. spicata for leaf comparisons.
Derivation of specific name: arborea: tree-like
Habitat: In Brachystegia woodland, often in rocky terrain.
Altitude range: (metres) 850 - 1750 m
Flowering time:Sep - Nov
Worldwide distribution: Widely distributed throughout tropical Africa
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s): Tree.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Saturday 2 January 2016

Bamps, P. (1974). Contribution à l'étude des Araliacées africaines Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 44(1/2) Pages 104 - 108.

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 78. (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 717. (Includes a picture).

Cannon, J.F.M. (1978). Araliaceae Flora Zambesiaca 4 Pages 628 - 629.

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 18.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 11.

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 847.

Coates Palgrave, K. et al. (1956). Trees of Central Africa National Publications Trust, Salisbury. Pages 33 - 36. as Cussonia kirkii (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, M. (1989). Guide to the trees and shrubs of the Mukuvisi Woodlands ?publisher. Page 51.

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 28.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 264.

Drummond, R.B. (1981). Common Trees of the Central Watershed Woodlands of Zimbabwe. Natural Resources Board, Harare. Pages 174 - 175. (Includes a picture).

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 19.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 27.

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 78 - 79. (Includes a picture).

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 58. as Cussonia kirkii

Timberlake, J.R., Bayliss, J., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Congdon, C., Branch, B., Collins, S., Curran, M., Dowsett, R,J., Fishpool, L., Francisco, J., Harris, Kopp, M. & de Sousa, C. (2012). Mt Mabu, Mozambique: Biodiversity and Conservation Report produced under the Darwin Initiative Award 15/036. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London Page 72.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 48 - 49. (Includes a picture).

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (2013). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa (Second edition) Struik, South Africa Pages 52 - 53. (Includes a picture).

White, F. (1962). Forest Flora of Northern Rhodesia Oxford Univ. Press. Page 312.

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 88.

Other sources of information about Cussonia arborea:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Cussonia arborea
Flora of Malawi: Cussonia arborea
Flora of Mozambique: Cussonia arborea
Flora of Zambia: Cussonia arborea

External websites:

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

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: Cussonia arborea., retrieved 20 June 2024

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