Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit.

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Hyptis suaveolens

Photo: Bart Wursten
By the Vumba road, near Inn on the Vumba.

Hyptis suaveolens

Photo: Bart Wursten
By the Vumba road, near Inn on the Vumba.

Hyptis suaveolens

Photo: Bart Wursten
By the Vumba road, near Inn on the Vumba.

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

Synonyms: Ballota suaveolens L.
Common names: Pignut (English) Spikenard (English)
Status: Introduced
Erect, strongly aromatic branched annual or short-lived perennial herb up to 3 m tall. Stems 4-angled, velvety with longer hairs and gland dots. Leaves opposite, ovate, 2.5-10 cm long, cordate at the base, velvety on both sides, margin toothed; petiole 1-7 cm long. Young leaves often purple tinged, particularly on the margin. Flowers axillary pedunculate clusters. Calyx with 5 spine-like teeth, often dark purple, glandular. Corolla 2-lipped, mauve with dark purple lines at the base of the broad 2-lobed upper lip.
Notes: The specimen in the photographs appears to represent the first record for the Eastern Division.

Alistair Hull has supplied the following information about the history of the spread of this species in Zimbabwe.

[Regarding the species establishing itself at Mana Pools ... ], perhaps the word 'established itself at Mana Pools' at this point is a bit premature but the image I took was on the river frontage at Mana and it certainly will not be long before it is 'established' there as it certainly is now well established along the Makuti/Chirundu road from the Nyakasanga river bridge going north towards Chirundu. So of interest with this species is that when Bob Drummond and myself went to the Bazaruto archipelago in 1995 to do a vegetation survey there, Bob pointed the species out to me not far from the border post on the Mozambique side and told me it was 'spreading fast' but had not yet been recorded in Zimbabwe. As you know, I then found the species growing at the 133 km peg on the Gokwe road on 17/6/1997. After that I found it growing near the Nyakasanga river bridge on the valley floor in about 2010 and then along the Binga/Karoi road in 2015, so all very interesting.

Alistar Hull, in litt., 22 July 2017.
Derivation of specific name: suaveolens: sweet-scented
Habitat: Along roadsides, in disturbed areas or as a weed of abandoned cultivation.
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:All year
Worldwide distribution: Native to Central America. Introduced in many tropical areas of the world
Zimbabwe distribution: N,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 23 January 2010

Paton, A.J. et al. (2013). Lamiaceae Flora Zambesiaca 8(8) Pages 106 - 108.

Other sources of information about Hyptis suaveolens:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Hyptis suaveolens
Flora of Mozambique: Hyptis suaveolens

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-18

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Hyptis suaveolens.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=149570, retrieved 18 March 2018

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