Tabernaemontana stapfiana Britten

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Tabernaemontana stapfiana

Photo: Bart Wursten
Vumba rd near Castle Beacon

Tabernaemontana stapfiana

Photo: Bart Wursten
Castle Beacon, Vumba

Tabernaemontana stapfiana

Photo: Bart Wursten
Castle Beacon, Vumba

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

Synonyms: Conopharyngia stapfiana (Britten) Stapf
Tabernaemontana angolensis Stapf
Common names: Soccerball fruit (English)
Status: Native
A medium-sized tree. Leaves oblong-elliptic, 12-40 cm, dark green above, paler below, leathery, hairless with 12-24 pairs of evenly spaced lateral veins; margin entire, somewhat rolled under. Flowers in terminal heads, showy, c. 4 cm in diameter, white with a yellow throat. Fruit in pairs, joined at the base, very large, each up to 20 cm in diameter, fleshy grey-green with paler spots.
Notes: Both flowers and fruits are a regular sight on the forest floor. However, one would rather be struck by the flowers than by the enormous fruits, as they fall off the tree. The latter can weigh up to several kilos and gave the tree its common name.
Derivation of specific name: stapfiana: after Dr. Otto Stapf (1857-1933), Austrian-born British botanist, taxonomist and author of many plant taxa. He was Curator at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Royal Society.
Habitat: Montane evergreen forests
Altitude range: (metres) 700 - 2000 m
Flowering time:Dec - Jan
Worldwide distribution: East Africa south to Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique
Zimbabwe distribution: E
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: Tuesday 10 July 2007

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 75. (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 802. (Includes a picture).

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 27.

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 21.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 269. As Tabernaemontana angolensis

Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. & Kupicha, F.K. et al. (1985). Apocynaceae Flora Zambesiaca 7(2) Pages 442 - 443.

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.

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 69. As Conopharyngia stapfiana

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 45.

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.

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

Other sources of information about Tabernaemontana stapfiana:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Tabernaemontana stapfiana
Flora of Mozambique: Tabernaemontana stapfiana

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Tabernaemontana stapfiana., retrieved 1 February 2023

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