Bridelia cathartica G. Bertol.
subsp. melanthesoides (Baill.) J. Léonard[Agg]

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Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides

Photo: Bart Wursten
Island 1

Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides

Photo: Bart Wursten

Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides

Photo: Bart Wursten
Island 2, Katombora: camp site

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

Synonyms: Bridelia melanthesoides (Baill.) Klotzsch
Pentameria melanthesoides Baill.
Common names: Blue sweetberry (English) Knobby bridelia (English)
Scrambling shrub or small tree with long somewhat zig-zag branches and leaves held in one plane. Flowers unisexual, usually on the same tree, greenish-yellow in small axillary clusters. Fruit obovoid to subspherical, reddish-purple to blackish when ripe. Two varieties and various forms are found in Zimbabwe and can be distinguished as follows:

1. Venation not prominent beneath; dry leaves green var. melanthesoides

1. Venation prominent; dry leaves yellow or brown var. lingelsheimii 2.

2. Veins pubescent beneath (later becoming hairless) forma fischeri

2. Veins completely hairless beneath forma niedenzui

Subsp. cathartica occurs in coastal southern Mozambique and South Africa.
Derivation of specific name: cathartica: vomit inducing, referring to one of its uses in traditional medicine.
Flowering time:Dec - Apr
Worldwide distribution: From Sudan to Namibia and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (different varieties and forms).
Botswana distribution: N
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Abantis paradisea (Food plant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Friday 12 June 2015

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 408. As Bridelia cathartica (Includes a picture).

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Page 324.

Kamumvuri, G. (ed.) (2004). Plants of Zimbabwe Report No. 1 National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 36. as Bridelia cathartica

Radcliffe-Smith, A. (1996). Euphorbiaceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(4) Pages 15 - 18. (Includes a picture).

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 207.

Other sources of information about Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides
Flora of Malawi: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides
Flora of Mozambique: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides
Flora of Zambia: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides
Flora of Zimbabwe: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides

External websites:

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

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: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides., retrieved 24 July 2024

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