Maytenus undata (Thunb.) Blakelock

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Maytenus undata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Gardiner Farm, nr Arcturus

Maytenus undata

Photo: Bart Wursten
Gardiner Farm, nr Arcturus

Maytenus undata

Photo: David Hartung
Umwinsi River

Maytenus undata

Photo: David Hartung
Umwinsi River

Maytenus undata

Photo: Michelle Harvey-Hyde
Near summit of Hill Complex, Great Zimbabwe

Maytenus undata

Photo: Mark Hyde
By road to Harava Dam

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

Synonyms: Celastrus undatus Thunb.
Common names: Koko tree (English)
Status: Native
Multi-stemmed shrub or small unarmed tree. Bark grey-brown, smooth to finely fissured, flaking to reveal pinkish under bark. Leaves alternate, variable, ovate, elliptic-oblong to almost round, up to 13 × 9 cm, pale to dark green, paler below, somewhat leathery; margin more or less distinctly gland-toothed. The leaves typically show a whitish line when folded up (image 2). Flowers in small axillary clusters, pale greenish-yellow. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule, c. 5-7 mm in diameter, yellow to reddish-brown when ripe.
Derivation of specific name: undata: wavy
Flowering time:Sep - May
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in Africa, Madagascar and the Comoro Islands.
Botswana distribution: SE
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 127. (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 504. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 38.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 25.

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 22.

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

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 34.

Robson, N.K.B. (1966). Celastraceae Flora Zambesiaca 2(2) Pages 371 - 373.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 46.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 67.

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 73.

Other sources of information about Maytenus undata:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Maytenus undata
Flora of Malawi: Maytenus undata
Flora of Mozambique: Maytenus undata
Flora of Zambia: Maytenus undata
Flora of Zimbabwe: Maytenus undata

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Botswana: Species information: Maytenus undata., retrieved 22 June 2024

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