Vitex mombassae Vatke

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Vitex mombassae

Photo: Bart Wursten
By road to Hwange NP, Main Camp.

Vitex mombassae

Photo: Bart Wursten
By road to Hwange NP, Main Camp.

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

Synonyms: Vitex flavescens Rolfe var. parviflora Gibbs
Vitex pooara sensu K. Coates Palgrave
Common names: Smelly-berry fingerleaf (English)
Shrub or sometimes a small tree. Bark grey to brown, peeling in strips; growing tips densely covered in orange-tawny hairs. Leaves aromatic when crushed, essentially 5-foliolate but often with outer leaflets deformed or not developed and appearing 3-foliolate. Central leaflet elliptic to somewhat obovate, usually c. 6 × 4 cm but sometimes larger, yellowish-green, with short soft hairs above, more densely hairy below; margin entire; petiolules usually absent, rarely very short on the central leaflet. Petiole 4-9 cm long, with soft tawny hairs. Flowers in few-flowered, axillary heads, obscurely 2-lipped, pale blue or mauve and white to cream; calyx lobes and stalks covered in long tawny hairs. Fruit ellipsoid to almost round, c. 2 × 1.5 cm, fleshy, dark-brown to black, held in the enlarged calyx.
Derivation of specific name: mombassae: of Mombassa on the Kenyan coast, where the type specimen was found
Flowering time:Oct - Jan
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Limpopo, South Africa
Botswana distribution:
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 859. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 58.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 37.

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Page 571.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 272.

Fernandes, R. (2005). Lamiaceae (subfamilies: Viticoideae and Ajugoideae) Flora Zambesiaca 8(7) Pages 87 - 89. (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 57.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 80. also as Vitex pooara

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 82 - 84. (Includes a picture).

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 184.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 216.

Other sources of information about Vitex mombassae:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Vitex mombassae
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Vitex mombassae
Flora of Malawi: Vitex mombassae
Flora of Mozambique: Vitex mombassae
Flora of Zambia: Vitex mombassae
Flora of Zimbabwe: Vitex mombassae

External websites:

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

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: Vitex mombassae., retrieved 24 July 2024

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