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close this bookKenya Trees, Shrubs and Lianas (National Museum of Kenya, 1994, 762 p.)
close this folderSPERMATOPHYTA DICOTYLEDONES
View the documentAnnonaceae - Soursop family
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View the documentSolanaceae - Potato family
View the documentConvolvulaceae - Sweet potato family
View the documentScrophulariaceae - Witchweed family
View the documentBignoniaceae - Flame tree family
View the documentPedaliaceae - Sesame family
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View the documentVerbenaceae - Teak family
View the documentCyclocheilaceae
View the documentLabiatae/Lamiaceae - Mint, basil family

Verbenaceae - Teak family

Trees, shrubs, climbers or herbs. Leaves opposite or verticillate, exstipulate, entire or compound. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, with a corolla tube and 4 or 5 lobes; stamens 4. Fruit a drupe.

1. Leaves compound 8. Vitex

* Leaves simple 2

2. Mangrove trees with breathing roots and fleshy leaves 1. Avicennia

* Not mangroves 3

3. Branches with many small recurved prickles 5. Lantana camera

* Branches without prickles (sometimes with paired spines) 4

4. Climbers with recurved paired spines at nodes (old petioles) 2. Clerodendrum

*b Plant erect with straight spines 3. Duranta

*c Plants unarmed 5

5. Flowers and fruits in dense axillary spikes 6

* Flowers and fruits in either lax axillary cymes or terminal panicles 7

6. Fruit dry; flowers white 6. Lippia

* Fruit fleshy; flowers yellow, mauve or pink 5. Lantana

NOTE: Lantana viburnoides has white flowers and is therefore also included in the Lippia key.

7. (Climbing) shrubs; corolla 5-lobed; fruit 4- seeded 2. Clerodendrum

* Shrub or trees; corolla 4-lobed; fruit 1-seeded 7. Premna

NOTE: 4. Karomia gigas, a large tree from the coast, is not included in the key since only its leaves and loose fruits are known.

1. AVICENNIA

Mangrove tree with pencil-like pneumatophores. Leaves thick. Inflorescence axillary or terminal. Sepals 5. Tube shorter than lobes. Fruit a capsule; seeds germinating on the tree.

Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh.

Tree 4-12m; bark smooth, yellowish. Leaves greyish below, elliptic, base cuneate, apex acute or obtuse, 4-11 by 1.5-4cm, glabrous or seemingly so. Flowers yellow, in dense globose heads on short square peduncles, corolla 4-6mm long. Fruit greyish, ovoid with apiculate apex, 17-28 by 11-20mm, densely puberulous.

K7; 0-2m; I-IV, X, XII *

Mangrove on sand or mud, usually on the landward side; a pioneer species in swamps.

Mchu, Mtu (SWA), Mutu (BAJ), Mtswi (GIR). Timber used for dhow ribs; wood used for limeburning; the bark yields a brown dye.


Avicennia marina


Avicennia marina

2. CLERODENDRUM

Shrubs and climbers. Leaves opposite or verticillate, simple, frequently glandular below. Flowers in lax axillary cymes or terminal panicles; flowers 5-lobed, stamens mostly exserted, as is the style. Fruiting calyx enlarged; fruit ellipsoid, fleshy, 4-seeded and sometimes 4-lobed.

1. Leaves incised (coastal forest) [though occasionally specimens occur with entire leaves] 9. C. incisum

* Leaves entire or leaf-margin toothed 2

* (flowers present but no leaves: 11. C. makanjanum)

2. Plant in flower 3

* Plant in fruit 14

3. Corolla tube more than 28mm long 4

* Corolla tube less than 23mm long [a large-flowered form of C. buchholzii might occur] 6

4. Flowers in dense heads 26

* Flowers in lax inflorescences 5

5. Corolla tube more than 6cm long 15. C. rotundifolium

* Corolla tube less than 4cm long 8. C. hildebrandtii

6. Flowers blue, purple or greenish, sometimes with one or two lobes white 13. C. myricoides

* Flowers white or cream 7

7. Kakamega forest climbers with glabrous leaves 8

* Either shrubs of dry environment, or coastal plants, or climbers with very hairy leaves 10

8. Corolla tube 10-12mm; flowers and fruits mainly on old wood 2. C. buchholzii

* Corolla tube 4-6mm; flowers and fruits at end of branchlets 9

9. Leaf base rounded, leaves drying black 12. C. melanocrater

* Leaf base cuneate, leaves drying greenish 6. C. formicarum

10. Upland forest climber with tomentose leaves 10. C. johnstonii

* Shrub or small trees, or coastal climber 11

11. Corolla tube less than 10mm long 12

* Corolla tube more than 12mm long 13

12. Flowers in dense clusters; above 750m 4. C. eriophyllum

* Flowers in lax cymes; near the sea 27

13. Leaf base rounded or subcordate; coastal riverine climber 1. C. acerbianum

* Leaf base cuneate; inland, dry bushland shrub 14. C. robecchii

14. Fruit with spongy processes 1. C. acerbianum

* Fruit smooth 15

15. Leaves fleshy, serrate 11. C. makanjanum

* Leaves not fleshy 16

16. Fruits in crowded heads, with very short pedicels 17

* Fruits in lax inflorescences, with visible pedicels at least 3mm long 18

17. Leaves not glandular beneath; calyx 14-20mm long 3. C. capitatum

* Leaves glandular beneath; calyx less than 10mm long 4. C. eriophyllum

18. Calyx more than 9mm long, deeply split into lobes 19

* Calyx less than 8mm long, shallowly lobed 20

19. Calyx 18-20mm long; pedicels 13-20mm 15. C. rotundifolium

* Calyx 9-12mm long; pedicels 5-10mm 8. C. hildebrandtii

20. Leaves glabrous 21

* Leaves more or less pubescent or sandpapery 24

21. Leaves glandular beneath 22

* Leaves not glandular 23

22. Plants with entire leaves, close to the sea 7. C. glabrum

* Plants often with toothed margins; above 100m 13. C. myricoides

23. Kakamega forest climbers return to 8

* Coastal shrubs 13. C. myricoides, 16. C. sansibarense

24. Dry area shrubs 25

* Forest climber, many-fruited 10. C. johnstonii

* Coastal shrub or climber 16. C. sansibarense

25. NE Kenya only; leaves to 2.5 by 1.5cm 14. C. robecchii

* Widespread; leaves to 11 by 5cm 13. C. myricoides

26. Eastern Kenya 3. C. capitatum

* Western Kenya 5. C. fischeri

27. Flowers pure white 7. C. glabrum

* Flowers with one mauve or greenish lobe 16. C. sansibaricum

1. Clerodendrum acerbianum (Vis.) Benth. & Hook.f.

(Scandent) shrub 1 -3m. Leaves ovate or elliptic, base subcordate or rounded, apex acute or obtuse, 2-7.5 by 1 -4cm, densely pubescent. Flowers white with pink or purple filaments, in dense axillary or terminal clusters; corolla tube 13-23mm, lobes 4-6mm long. Fruit covered in spongy processes, 10-15mm across.

K7; 1-150m; I-III, V, VII-XII *

Riverine, in scrub or woodland.

Mtozatoza, Mkambe (SWA), Karhabela (ILW), Karapela (ORM). Roots used in stomach medicine by the Giriama; twigs used in fish traps.


Clerodendrum acerbianum


C. capitatum


Clerodendrum eriophyllum


C. fischeri

2. Clerodendrum buchholzii Gürke

Liana to at least 30m high, climbing with persistent petiole bases (to 2cm, almost spiny). Leaves (sub-Opposite, elliptic, base rounded or cuneate, apex acuminate, 5-14 by 2-7.5cm, glabrous. Flowers white, from lower stems (cauliflorous) and occasionally on leafy shoots, in loose panicles, to 20cm long; corolla tube 10-12mm, lobes 3-4mm long. Fruiting panicles to 30cm, fruiting calyx to 10mm. Fruit dark green, to 12mm long.

K5; 1200-1650m; VIII-X, XII *

Only known from Kakamega forest and once found in Bukeria area in 1933. Moist evergreen forest.

3. Clerodendrum capitatum (Willd.) Schum. & Thonn.

Shrub or climber 1-6m; petiole occasionally remaining as spines. Leaves elliptic or slightly (ob-)ovate, base cuneate to subcordate, apex acuminate, margin occasionally somewhat sinuate, 6-18 by 3-9cm, glabrous or stiffly hairy. Flowers white, in dense terminal clusters with large reddish or purple sepals; corolla tube 50-85mm, lobes 7-14mm long. Fruiting calyx to 20mm; fruit to 13mm long.

K35; 1200-1950m; VIII-XII *

(Riverine) forest or wooded grassland.

Moza nyama (SWA).

4. Clerodendrum eriophyllum Gürke

Shrub (rarely small tree) 0.5-4m. Leaves opposite or in threes, ovate or elliptic, base cuneate or almost rounded, apex acute or obtuse or slightly acuminate, 2-8 by 1 -5cm, puberulous above and pubescent beneath; glandular beneath. Flowers white, in dense or lax terminal or axillary clusters; corolla tube 4-9mm, lobes 2-4mm long. Fruit to 8mm long.

K467; 750-1350m; I-III, V-VII, X, XII

Scattered tree grassland or dry bushland.

Kiumbwa, Muumbwa (KAM), Giyapp, Gurb (SOM).

Kamba use the leaves in malaria medicine.

5. Clerodendrum fischeri Gürke

ssp. fischeri

Shrub 2-3m. Leaves broadly elliptic to slightly obovate, base cuneate to rounded, apex acuminate, 7-17 by 4-11cm, densely hairy. Flowers white, in round terminal inflorescences; corolla 7-15cm long. Fruit not seen.

K7; 1-100m; III*

Grassland, wooded grassland, forest clearings.

6. Clerodendrum formicarum Gürke

(C. triplinerve Rolfe)

Shrub, tree or climber 1.5-6m, with hollow ridged stems. Petiole often remaining as a spine. Leaves in threes or fours, elliptic or slightly ovate, base cuneate, apex acuminate, 4-10 by 2-5cm, basal 2 veins often reaching into upper half of leaf, glabrous. Flowers white, in many-flowered terminal panicles; corolla tube 4-6mm, lobes 2-3mm long. Fruit black, to 11 mm long.

K5, collected 4 times in and around Kakamega forest, and once in the SW Mau.

7. Clerodendrum glabrum E. Mey.

Shrub or small tree 0.5-4.5m, much-branched. Leaves opposite or in threes, ovate or elliptic, base cuneate, apex acute, 2.5-12 by 0.8-6cm, glabrous, densely glandular beneath. Flowers white, in loose cymes; corolla tube 5-10mm, lobes 2.5-5mm long. Fruit to 6mm long.

K7; 1-50m; I-III, V-X (VI-IX)

Coastal bushland, bush/grass mosaic near beach, thickets on dunes; on coral or white sand.

Mtozatoza, Mkula-usiku (SWA). Twigs used for fish-traps.


Clerodendrum glabrum


C. hildebrandtii

8. Clerodendrum hildebrandtii Vatke

Shrub, much-branched, 1-4m (rarely a small tree). Leaves slightly fleshy, broadly ovate, base broadly cuneate to (sub-)cordate, apex rounded and apiculate, 5-10 by 4-10cm, glabrous. Flowers white or cream, fading to mauve, in few-flowered panicles; corolla tube 28-35mm, lobes 7-12mm long. Fruit about 9mm.

K147; 1-900m; I-II, IV-VII, X-XII (VI)

(Disturbed) bushland, or grassland.

Mtozatoza, Mkula-usiku (SWA), Mkula-usiku (GIR). Roots used in chest medicine; leaves pounded for fish bait.

9. Clerodendrum incisum Klotzsch

Shrub 0.5-3m. Leaves lobed or incised (rarely entire), lobes pointed, base attenuate, apex long-acute, 4-16 by 1.5-7cm, glabrous or sandpapery; glandular beneath. Flowers white, in 3-10-flowered panicles (?); corolla tube 50-75mm, lobes 10-15mm long. Fruit not seen.

K7; 1-300m; IV-XII (VIII)

Moist or dry forest; less often in open forest or evergreen bushland.

Ngagna (BON), Murusapungu (DIG), Karusapungu (GIR). Boni use a leaf decoction against headache.

10. Clerodendrum johnstonii Oliv.

Shrub or liana 1.5-20m, climbing with remaining bases of petioles which are hooked and spiny. Leaves opposite or in threes, (ob)ovate or elliptic, base rounded or subcordate, apex shortly acuminate, 6.5-19 by 3.5-14cm, (densely) tomentose beneath. Flowers white, in a many-flowered terminal panicle; corolla tube 6-9mm, lobes 3-4mm long. Fruit orange to black, to 1cm long, but often galled.

K1345(6)7; 1200-2500m; I-XII (II-IV, VII-IX).

Moist forest (edges), also in secondary forest. May be locally common.

Muteangwai (KAM), Muringo (KIK), Lisala (LUH), Jersegao (MAR), Kiankware (MER), Singoruet (NDO, KIP), Mdiguaroshi, Mukochokocho (TAI), Kisolobi (TUG).


Clerodendrum incisum


Clerodendrum johnstonii


Clerodendrum johnstonii

11. Clerodendrum makanjanum Winkler

Shrub with sarmentose branches 0.5-2m; branches slightly fleshy. Leaves on short branches, opposite, elliptic, base attenuate, apex rounded or obtuse, margin coarsely serrate, up to 5 by 3cm. Flowers appearing when the shrub is leafless, cream or greenish with the top petal purplish, in a paniculate spike 4-9cm long; inflorescence purple; corolla tube 4-8mm, lobes 5-7mm long. Fruit slightly obovate, 3- or 4-lobed, to 7mm long.

K467; 1-1150m; VII-XI *

Acacia-Commiphora bushland.

12. Clerodendrum melanocrater Gürke

Climber 3-6m. Leaves opposite, ovate or elliptic, base rounded, apex shortly acuminate, 5-18 by 2-10cm, glabrous; drying black. Flowers white or cream, in terminal panicles to 12cm long; corolla tube 5-6mm, lobes 1-2mm long. Fruit black, occasionally 2-4-lobed, to 9mm long. K5; Kakamega Forest; 1550-1650m; X *


Clerodendrum makanjanum


C. myricoides


Clerodendrum rotundifolium


C. sansibarense

13. Clerodendrum myricoides (Hochst.) Vatke

(incl. C. discolor (Klotzsch) Vatke, C. scheffleri Gürke, C. ugandense Prain)

Shrub 1-3.5m. Leaves opposite or in threes/fours, ovate or slightly obovate, base cuneate or attenuate, apex acute, margin toothed or rarely entire, to 11 by 5cm, pubescent to almost glabrous beneath. Flowers blue or purple, occasionally greenish with one lobe blue, or blue with two lobes white; in lax panicles; corolla tube 5-10mm, lobes 8-17mm long. Fruit black, to 8mm long.

K1234567; 150-2400m; I-XII

(Secondary) dry or semi-evergreen bushland, bushed grassland, or wooded grassland; often on rocky sites. Butterfly bush (STAND), Mara-sisa (BOR), Munguya, Muvweia (KAM), Munjugu (KIK), Chesamisiet, Obetiot (KIP), Shikuma (LUO), Ol-magotogot (MAA), Chebobet, Chesagon (MAR), Makutukuti (SAM), Gobetie (TUG). A root decoction is used as an emetic, against malaria and VD.

14. Clerodendrum robecchii Chiov.

(C. microphyllum Thomas)

Shrub 1-3m. Leaves opposite, ovate-spathulate, base cuneate or attenuate, apex obtuse, to 2.5 by 1.5cm, occasionally 3-lobed or crenate-serrate, sandpapery and glandular. Flowers white, in few-flowered terminal heads; corolla tube 12-14mm, lobes 4-6mm long. Fruit black, unlobed to 4-lobed, to 7mm long.

K1; once collected 50 km W of Ramu (Lagh Olla) at 580m.

Acacia-Commiphora bushland.

15. Clerodendrum rotundifolium Oliv.

Shrub 0.5-3.5m. Leaves (sub-)opposite or in threes, (broadly) ovate, base rounded or subcordate (rarely broadly cuneate), apex acuminate, margin entire or crenate, 6-23 by 4.5-18cm, pubescent. Flowers white, in few-flowered panicles; corolla tube 62-118mm, lobes 10-16mm long. Fruit to 12mm long.

K3456; 1200-2150m; I-X, XII

Wooded grassland, riverine woodland.

Kochutoi (KIP), Sangla-minwa (LUO), Osingarwa (MAA).

16. Clerodendrum sansibarense Gürke

ssp. sansibarense

(Climbing) shrub 2-6m. Leaves ovate or elliptic, base attenuate, apex acuminate, margin entire or crenate, 4-21 by 2-11 cm, glabrous or sparsely puberulous. Flowers greenish white, with one mauve or blue-green lobe, in axillary dichasial cymes, forming pyramidal leafy inflorescences to 20 by 20 cm; corolla tube 8-10mm, lobes 8-9.5mm long. Fruit reddish black, depressed round, 6-7 by 7-11mm.

K7; 50-400m; IV *

Forest (edge) or secondary grassland, seashore.

Note. I am uncertain about the identity of C. dalei Moldenke, based on Dale K3811, a specimen with young buds from K7, Ganda forest. The leaf margins occasionally have 1-2 teeth.

3. DURANTA

Duranta erecta L.

(Duranta repens L.)

Shrub or tree, 1.8-4.5m, evergreen; branches often with axillary spines 2-14mm. Leaves opposite, occasionally crowded on spur shoots, elliptic, base cuneate, apex acute or obtuse, margin entire or crenate, 2-6 by 1-3cm, glabrous. Flowers mauve-blue or white, in terminal racemes; corolla tube 7-10mm, lobes 2-6mm long. Fruit a yellow or orange drupe with a conical beak, 5-7mm across.

K2456; 1200-1950m; II-V, X *

Cultivated and gone wild in (riverine) forest.

Golden dew drop, pigeon berry (STAND).


Duranta repens


Duranta repens


Karomia gigas

4. KAROMIA

Trees or shrubs. Calyx very spreading, accrescent, obscurely lobed. Corolla with incurved tube and oblique lobes.

Karomia gigas (Faden) Verdc.

(Holmskioldia gigas Faden) FEARED EXTINCT

Tree 12m; bark tan, peeling. Leaves ovate-orbicular, base shortly cuneate, apex abruptly acute, 15-22 by 11-18cm, glabrous Flowers not known. Fruit with accrescent calyx 5.5-6.5cm across.

K7, found at Mwarakaya, in forest remnant on limestone; the only known specimen was cut down about 1983.

5. LANTANA

Shrubs or woody herbs. Leaves opposite or in threes. Flowers in peduncled axillary spikes, dense. Corolla 5-lobed, slightly 2-lipped. Fruit a fleshy drupe.

NOTE: hybrids (intermediates) between L. trifolia and L. viburnoides occur.

1. Stems prickly 1. L. camara

* Stems not armed 2

2. Corolla white 4. L. viburnoides

* Corolla mauve or purple 3

3. Corolla 3-7mm across at apex; peduncle 10-105mm 3. L. trifolia

* Corolla 1-2mm across at apex; peduncle 5-23mm 2. L. rhodesiensis

1. Lantana camara L.

(Scrambling) shrub 1-5m; stems with many small recurved prickles. Leaves opposite or in threes, aromatic, ovate, base rounded or cuneate, apex acute, margin serrate, 3-9 by 2-5cm, sandpapery. Flowers yellow or mauve, to about 1cm long. Fruit black, to 8mm long.

K34567; 1 - 1900m; I-XII

Introduced, now a serious weed on roadsides and in secondary vegetation.

Mjasasa (DIG), Kitavisi (KAM), Mukenia (KIK), Nyamrih (LUO), Getipkamoskon (TUG). Leaves poisonous to livestock.


Lantana camara


Lantana rhodesiensis

2. Lantana rhodesiensis Moldenke

Woody herb or shrub 0.3-1.8m. Leaves opposite or in threes, ovate, base cuneate, apex acute, margin serrate, 1-8 by 0.5-3.5cm, sandpapery above, pubescent beneath. Flowers mauve or purple, sometimes with a yellow throat; peduncle 5-23mm; corolla tobe 3-5mm, lobes 1-1.5mm. Fruit blue or purple.

K13456; 900-2100m; I-X, XII

Bushland, secondary bushland, or wooded grassland Muthio (KAM), Mukenia (KIK), Bek-ap-torit (KIP), Enguruma-olaiyok (MAA). Fruit edible.

3. Lantana trifolia L.

Woody herb or shrub 0.3-3.6m. Leaves in threes (rarely opposite on weak shoots) ovate, base cuneate, apex acute, margin serrate, 1.5-12 by 0.7-4cm, sand-papery above, densely pubescent beneath. Flowers mauve, purple, or pink, often with a yellow throat; peduncle (10) 25-105mm; corolla tube 4-7mm, lobes 2-3mm long. Fruit red or purple.

K1234567; (300) 900-2350m; I-XII

Bushland, secondary bushland, bushed grassland, dry forest (margins), wooded grassland, ruderal.

Mvepe (SWA), Kate (BOR), Muvisavisi (KAM), Mukenia (KIK), Bek-ap-torit (KIP), Lumenenambuli (LUH), Magwaga, Nyabend-winy (LUO), Ol-magirigiriana, Ol-makongora (MAA), Chemosong, Kogumbosuwa (MAR), Peptarit, Petiapteriet (NAN), Sekechewo (TUG). Fruit edible.

4. Lantana viburnoides (Forssk.) Vahl

(incl. Lippia somalensis of UKWF)

Woody herb or shrub 0.4-3.5m. Leaves opposite, ovate, base cuneate or attenuate, apex acute or obtuse, margin serrate, 0.8-11 by 0.4-5cm, sandpapery above, pubescent beneath. Flowers white (rarely pale pink) often with a yellow throat. Fruit purple.

- ssp. viburnoides

Leaves 1-11 by 0.5-5cm; peduncle 10-100mm; corolla tube 4-8mm, lobes 1-3mm long.

K1234567; 1-1950m; I0VI, VIII-XII

(Secondary) bushland, often in rocky sites; also in forest margins and wooded grassland.

Mverde (SWA), Kashomoro (GIR), Lokuru (NJE), Muudi (TAI).

- ssp. masaica Verdcourt ined.

Leaves < 3 by 1.6cm; peduncle < 1cm; inflorescence < 1cm.

K4, in dry bushland and wooded grassland.

- ssp. humuliformis Verdcourt ined.

Inflorescence strobiliform, hop-like.

K47, in dry bushland.


Lantana trifolia


Lantana viburnoides


Lantana viburnoides

6. LIPPIA

Shrubs or woody herbs. Leaves opposite or verticillate, glandular. Flowers in pedunculate, crowded spikes; corolla obscurely 2-lipped, with 3 lobes. Fruit of 2 dry mericarps; each 1-seeded, very small.

1. Leaves lobed or deeply crenate 2. L. dauensis

* Leaves shallowly crenate 2

2. Lower bracts of inflorescence more than twice as wide as upper bracts 3

* Lower bracts similar to upper bracts 5

3. Leaves sandpapery on both sides, corolla 4- lobed 4

* Leaves pubescent beneath, corolla 5-lobed (5.4) Lantana viburnoides

4. Leaves up to 2.5 by 2.5cm, broadly elliptic 6. L. somalensis

* Leaves up to 12 by 4.5cm, much longer than wide 5. L. kituiensis

5. Leaves up to 4cm long; fruiting bracts much enlarged 1. L. carviodora

* Leaves usually larger; fruiting bracts less than 5mm wide 6

6. Spikes less than 6mm across, bracts erect 4. L. javanica

* Spikes more than 6mm across, bracts spread ing 3. L. grandifolia

1. Lippia carviodora Meikle

(incl. var. minor Meikle)

Shrub 0.5-2m. Leaves opposite, aromatic, (broadly) ovate, base cuneate to almost truncate, apex obtuse or rounded, margin crenate, up to 4 by 2.7cm, scabridulous above, puberulous beneath. Flowers white with yellow throat, in shortly pedunculate heads; corolla tube to 4mm long. Fruiting bracts much enlarged, to 13 by 15mm.

K1234; 500-1150m; III-V, XI *

Dry bushland or bushed grassland.

Galafu (REN), Leminyani (SAM), Ged hamu (SOM), Eure (TUR). Used for tea by Turkana and Somali.

Note. Two records from Kilifi (Jeffrey H 12/49 and H 21/49) are probably from cultivated specimens.


Lippia carviodora


Lippia dauensis

2. Lippia dauensis (Chiov.) Chiov.

Shrub 0.5-1.5m. Leaves opposite, slightly aromatic, lobed to subentire, ovate or elliptic, base attenuate, apex acute or obtuse, margin (if not lobed) deeply crenate, to 4.5 by 2cm but mostly much smaller. Flowers white, in long-pedunculate heads 5-8mm long; corolla tube about 2mm long.

K1;500-900m;V,VIII-IX*

Dry bushland or bushed grassland.

3. Lippia grandifolia A.Rich.

Shrub 0.5-1.8m. Leaves opposite, in threes or in fours, ovate or elliptic, base cuneate, apex acute, margin crenate, 3-9 by 1-2.5cm(smaller near end of flowering branch), sandpapery on both sides. Flowers white or cream, in short- or long-pedunculed spikes 1-2.5cm long. Corolla tube 2.5-3.5mm long.

K345; 750-2250m; III, VIII-IX, XI *

Disturbed forest or wooded grassland.

4. Lippia javanica (Burm.f.) Spreng

Shrub 0.5-3m. Leaves opposite (rarely in threes), aromatic, ovate or elliptic, base cuneate, apex acute, margin crenate, 2-8 by 0.6-3cm, sandpapery above, pubescent beneath. Flowers white or cream with yellow throat, in short-pedunculed (rarely long-stalked) crowded spikes 0.5- 1cm long; corolla tube about 2mm long.

K123456; 1050-2300m; I-XII

Locally abundant in secondary bushland or grassland; less often in wooded grassland.

Muthoroti (KIK), Mwokyot (KIP), Onyinkwa (KIS), Angwe rao, Mweny (LUO), Sulasula (LUH), Olsinoni (MAA), Mwokio (MAR), Chepngosoriet (NAN), Sunoni (SAM), Karnet (SEE). A problem in rangeland pastures.


Lippia grandifolia


Lippia javanica


Lippia kituiensis

5. Lippia kituiensis Vatke

(L. ukambensis Vatke sensu Baker et al.)

Shrub 0.5-3.6m. Leaves opposite, (rarely in threes), aromatic, ovate or elliptic, base cuneate, apex acute or obtuse, margin crenate, 2-12 by 0.8-4.5cm, sandpapery on both sides. Flowers white with yellow throat, in long-pedunculate crowded spikes 0.5-1.5cm long; corolla tube 2-4mm long; fruit red.

K1234567; 900-2550m; I-XII

(Bushed) grassland, (secondary) bushland; a problem in rangeland.

Muthiethi, Muthirithi (KAM), Muthirithi (KIK, MER), Mwokiot (KIP), Mosonyon (PKT), Sinoni (SAM). Fruit edible. Leaves sometimes used for tea.


Lippia kituiensis


Lippia somalensis

6. Lippia somalensis Vatke

Shrub 0.5-3m. Leaves opposite, aromatic, (broadly) elliptic, base cuneate, apex acute or rounded, margin crenate, to 2.5 by 2.5cm, sandpapery on both sides.

Flowers white with yellow throat, in long-pedunculate crowded spikes 0.5-1.5cm long; corolla tube 3-4mm long.

K1; 1350-1750m; I, IV, VI, VIII, XI *

Forest (margins) and bushed grassland.

Suruni (SOM).

7. PREMNA

Shrubs or trees. Leaves opposite or verticillate. Flowers in terminal (rarely axillary) panicles; corolla small, 4-lobed. Fruit a small globose or ellipsoid drupe with a thin fleshy outer skin and an enlarged calyx.

1. Moist forest trees to 30m, found above 1000m 2

* Dry area shrubs or coastal plants, or found below 1000m 3

2. Leaves glabrous, in fours 1. P. angolensis

* Leaves pubescent at least on midrib, opposite or in threes 4. P. maxima

3. Leaves glabrous or almost so 4

* Leaves quite hairy 5

4. Leaves 6-15 by 3.5-12cm, with entire margins 5. P. obtusifolia

(Also keying out here: P. discolor, a new species from Diani and Cha Simba forest)

* Leaves either smaller, or crenate at margin 6. P. resinosa

5. Leaf hairs stellate, inflorescence dense 2. P. chrysoclada

* Leaf hairs simple; inflorescence lax 6

6. Leaves long-petiolate (usually > 3cm) 3. P. hildebrandtii

* Leaves with petioles less than 2cm long 7

7. Leafbase subcordate or rounded; branchlets densely yellowish-hairy 8

* Leafbase cuneate or rounded; branchlets sparsely pubescent 6. P. resinosa

8. Inflorescences lax, to 4cm 8. P. velutina

* Inflorescence < 1cm long 7. P. senensis

Note: a very recent find is P. gracillima Verdcourt ined., a new species from Mangea (Coast) based on Luke & Robertson 1820. It is near P. resinosa, but has leaves with 2-3 teeth, and the inflorescence is overtopped by the leaves.

1. Premna angolensis Gürke

Tree to 20m. Leaves in fours, ovate, base cuneate or rounded, apex acuminate, margin entire, 7-18 by 4-9cm, glabrous. Flowers white, in loose axillary or terminal panicles, 5-20cm long; flowers 3-4mm long.

Fruit ellipsoid with acute apex, 5-6mm long.

K5; collected in and around Kakamega forest (3 times, before 1935) and near Molo; 1550-2100m; IV-V *

Forest margins or clearings.

Muhorro (TRADE), Mungaliguru, Kisangula (LUH).

2. Premna chrysoclada (Boj.) Gürke

Shrub or small tree 1-4.5m. Leaves opposite, elliptic, base cuneate or rounded, apex acuminate, margin serrate or entire, 5-11 by 1.5-5cm, stellate-hairy, sometimes densely so beneath. Flowers greenish yellow, in (rather) dense terminal panicles 1-4cm long; flowers 3-6mm long. Fruit (purple-) black, ellipsoid, 4-8mm long.

K7; 1-450m; I, IV-VIII, XII *

Moist forest, forest edges, woodland, thicket and (secondary) bushland.

Mvuma-nyuki (SWA), Mvuma (DIG, GIR). Root decoction used against dysentry and kidney trouble; stems used for bows; fruit edible.

3. Premna hildebrandtii Gürke

Shrub or small tree 3-6m or climber to 12m. Leaves opposite, long-petiolate, broadly ovate, base rounded or subcordate, apex acuminate, margin serrate or entire, 4-12 by 4-10cm, densely pubescent; venation palmate, 3-5 veined from base. Flowers yellow-green or white, in loose terminal panicles 4-14cm long; flowers 4-5mm long. Fruit black, ellipsoid, to 7mm long.

K47; 1-1000m; I, III, VI*

Inland in riverine or groundwater forest, on the coast in bushland, thicket or dry forest on coral.

Murusupungu (GIR). Root decoction used against stomachache.


Premna chrysoclada


Premna hildebrandtii

4. Premna maxima T.C.E. Fries RARE, ?VULNERABLE

Tree 12-30m, buttressed. Leaves opposite or in threes, long-petiolate, broadly ovate or elliptic, base broadly cuneate, rounded or subcordate, apex acuminate, margin entire (rarely slightly dentate -when young?), 6-19 by 4-16cm, densely pubescent beneath to almost glabrous (except midrib). Flowers cream, in lax terminal panicles 12-20cm long; flowers 3-5.5mm long. Fruit purple, to 3mm (young).

K14; 1150-1800m; I, III, VI *

Moist evergreen forest, near Meru and Marsabit.

Muchichio (KIK, MER). Timber rather hard, used in carpentry; the wood contains oil.

5. Premna obtusifolia R. Br.

(P. corymbosa sensu Moldenke, non Rottl. & Wild.)

Shrub (climber?) to 4m. Leaves opposite, elliptic, base rounded or cuneate, apex obtuse or very shortly and bluntly acuminate, margin entire, 6-15 by 3.5-12cm, glabrous; glandular beneath. Flowers greenish or whitish, in rather dense terminal panicles 2-8cm long; flowers 2-3mm long. Fruit black, ellipsoid, to 4mm long.

K7; 1-400m; V, VIII, XI *

Seashore near highwater mark, riverine forest, thicket edge (S coast only).

Mbarafu (DIG). An infusion or the leaves is used against headache by the Digo.

6. Premna resinosa (Hochst.) Schauer

(incl. P. holstii Gürke)

Shrub 1-4.5m; older stems square. Leaves opposite, aromatic, ovate or (broadly) elliptic, base cuneate or rounded, apex rounded, acute, or acuminate, margin entire or crenate, up to 7(10) by 4(8)cm, almost glabrous. Flowers (greenish) cream or white, in lax terminal panicles 1.5-6cm long; flowers 3-6mm long. Fruit purple to black, ellipsoid, 4-7mm long.

- ssp. resinosa: leaves up to 3.5 by 2cm, usually with entire margins and with some hairs on midrib, veins and margins.

K12347; 1-1050m; I-VI, VIII-XII (XI-XII)

Dry bushland, bushed grassland; may be common or locally dominant.

Dadessa, Tatessa (BOR), Mukaakaa (KAM), Olmakarikara (MAA), Kate-dimtu (ORM), Kekechwo (PKT), Namaniela (REN), Lemaloni (SAM), Djadjallah, Gradha-gradha (SOM), Mugamia (TAI), Kekech (TUG), Ikorderedet (TUR).

- ssp. holstii (Gürke) Verdc, ined.: leaves mostly larger, up to 7 by 4 (10 by 8)cm, usually with crenate margins, and pubescent to almost glabrous beneath. Flowers often with a purple patch in the throat.

K1467; 1-1950m; I-VIII, XI-XII

Inland in dry bushland or thickets, common to locally abundant; more rare on the coast, in (evergreen) thickets.

Mvumba-ngombe (SWA), Mursapungu (DIG), Mkitsano (GIR), Mugambia (TAI). Fruit edible.

NOTE: I understand from Dr. Verdcourt that he sees P. oligotricha as separate; the easiest way to distinguish these two is by the leaf indument: specimens with pubescent leaves are P. oligotricha, and occur in more or less the same area as P. resinosa; the map for P. resinosa covers both these species.


Premna resinosa

7. Premna senensis Klotzsch

Shrub 2-5m. Leaves aromatic, often in whorls of 3, ovate or elliptic, base truncate or subcordate, apex acuminate, margin entire or toothed, 2-8.5 by 1.5-3.5cm, sparsely or densely pubescent. Flowers white, on short lateral shoots; corolla 6-6.5mm long. Fruit black or dark violet, round, 3.5-6mm.

K7, Shimba Hills.

8. Premna velutina Gürke

Shrub or scrambler 0.5-5m. Leaves opposite, (broadly) ovate or elliptic, base rounded or subcordate, apex acute, (rarely obtuse), margin entire or crenate, 2-8 by 1.5-5cm, densely short-pubescent beneath and on the midrib above. Flowers white, in lax terminal panicles 1-4cm long; flowers 4-5mm long. Fruit orange (to black?), ellipsoid, 4-6mm long.

K7; 1-300m; II, IV, VIII, X *

Inland along rivers; on the coast in forest margin or wooded grassland.

Modya-tudu (ILW), Manocha (ORM).


Premna resinosa


Premna velutina

8. VITEX

Trees, shrubs or climbers with square branches. Leaves opposite, 3- to 5-foliolate, mostly with long petioles; leaflets unequal. Flowers with 5 lobes; lobes unequal, the middle lower lobe being the largest. Calyx enlarging in fruit. Fruit a drupe.

1. Leaves with winged petiole 9. V. zanzibarensis

* Leaves with round petiole 2

2. Leaves completely glabrous (Western Kenya and south coast) - rarely with few hairs on midrib 1. V. doniana

* Leaves at least beneath (slightly) hairy 3

3. Leaflets sessile 4

* Leaflets (at least the terminal one) stalked 5

4. Leaf buds with brownish hairs <1mm; inflorescence 3-5cm long 5. V. mombassae

* Leaf buds with whitish hairs >3mm; inflorescence 6-18cm long 6. V. payos

5. Leaflets usually sandpapery above, or plants from West Kenya 6

* Leaflets glabrous or pubescent above, coastal plant 8

6. Leaflets 3 7. V. stricken

* Leaflets 5(6) 7

7. Tree 3-15m of wooded grassland and forest margins (west Kenya) 3. V. fischeri

* Tree 12-30m of moist forest (central Kenya) 4. V. keniensis

8. Leaves silvery grey beneath; flowers and fruits 3-5mm long 8. V. trifolia

* Leaves greenish beneath; flowers 8-14mm long, fruit 15-30mm long 9

9. Leaflets glabrous above; lateral leaflets stalked 2. V. ferruginea

* Leaflets pubescent above; lateral leaflets (sub)sessile 5. V. mombassae

Note: not keyed out is Vitex schliebenii Moldenke: Steiner & Gerhardt 222. V. de Meester 330: from K7 near Gedi.

1. Vitex doniana Sweet

Tree 3.5-15m, deciduous; bark rough, dark grey. Leaves 5-foliolate; leaflets obovate, apex rounded or short-acuminate, terminal leaflet 7-15 by 3-9cm; glabrous. Flowers whitish with 1 large mauve lobe, in axillary dichasia 3-9cm long; corolla 5-10mm long. Fruit black, ellipsoid, 15-30mm long.

K23567; (1) 1200-1900m; I-II, IV-V, XII *

Wooded grassland or forest edge.

Black plum, vitex (STAND), Mfundu (SWA), Muhuru (KIK), Muekelwet (KIP), Mutahuru (KIS), Jwelu, Kalemba (LUO), Muholu, Omuhutu (LUH), Tirkirwa (PKT). Fruit edible; wood used for carpentry, dhow ribs, small canoes and housebuilding.

2. Vitex ferruginea Schum.

(incl. V. amboniensis Gürke, V. carvalhi Gürke, V. tangensis Gürke)

Shrub or tree 1.5-6m. Leaves 3-5-foliolate; leaflets (narrowly) elliptic, apex shortly acuminate; terminal leaflet 5-14 by 2-4cm; finely pubescent beneath, sometimes only on the veins. Flowers whitish with one large mauve lobe, in axillary dichasia 1.5-6cm long; flowers 8-10mm long. Fruit greyish, speckled with white, globose, 15-25mm long.

K7; 1-400m; I, III-VI, XI

Forest (margin), secondary bushland or thicket, evergreen coastal bushland.

Mgegi (SWA), Mkaligote (BON), Mfududu, Mfudumaji (GIR). Fruit edible.

3. Vitex fischeri Gürke

Tree 3-15m; bark grey. Leaves 5-foliolate; leaflets elliptic or slightly obovate, apex shortly acuminate, terminal leaflets 9-21 by 4-9cm; slightly sandpapery or rarely glabrous above, densely pubescent beneath.

Flowers white or pale mauve, with lower lip darker mauve, in axillary dichasia 5-24cm long. Flowers 6-8mm long. Fruit purple to black, oblong-globose, 8-12mm long.

K356; 1200-1900m; I-VII, X, XII *

Wooded grassland, less often in forest margins.

Jwelo (LUO), Mufutumwe, Muhutu (LUH), Omuhuruhuru (WAT). Fruit edible.

4. Vitex keniensis Turrill

(V. balbi Chiov.)

Tree 12-35m with long clear bole; bark grey, slightly fissured. Leaves 5-foliolate; leaflets elliptic, base often unequal, apex short-acuminate, terminal leaflet 9-21 by 3.5- 10cm; slightly sandpapery above, densely pubescent beneath. Flowers white or purplish, with largest lobe dark mauve, in axillary dichasia 12-18cm long; flowers 7-8mm long. Fruit black, ellipsoid, 13-16mm long.

K4 (?7, see note); 1300-2100m; II-III, V, XI *

Moist evergreen forest.

Meru Oak (TRADE), Muuru, Moru (MER). Excellent timber.

Note: Taita Hills expedition no. 466 from Ngangao

Forest is believed to be this species.


Vitex doniana


Vitex ferruginea


Vitex fischeri


Vitex keniensis


Vitex mombassae


Vitex payos

5. Vitex mombassae Vatke

Shrub or tree 1.8-6m. Leaves 3-5-foliolate; leaflets elliptic or slightly obovate, apex short-acuminate or acute, terminal leaflet 4-12 by 1.5-4.5cm; pubescent, especially beneath. Flowers white with lower lobe mauve, or all mauve, in axillary dichasia 3-5cm; flower 8-14mm long. Fruit black, globose, 23-30mm across.

K7; 1-450m, II-III, IX *

(Clump) wooded grassland or woodland/bushland. Mfundu maji (SWA), Mdudumadzi (DIG), Mkalijote (BON), Mfudukoma (DIG), Mkufu, Mfududu (Galla).

Fruit edible.

Note. Kuchar 12891 from Kiunga is intermediate between this species and V. ferruginea.

6. Vitex payos (Lour.) Merr.

Tree or much less often shrub 2-9m; bark deeply fissured. Leaves 5-foliolate; leaflets obovate, apex rounded, obtuse or subacute; terminal leaflets 7-20 by 3-9cm; slightly pubescent above, tomentose beneath.

Flowers mauve or white with largest lobe dark mauve, in axillary dichasia 6-18cm long; flowers 6-9mm long.

Fruit black, globose or ellipsoid, 14-20mm long.

K47; 1-1200m; III, V, XI-XII *

Wooded grassland or clump tree grassland, inland also on rock domes.

Mfufu (SWA), Mfudu (DIG), Kimuu (KAM). Fruit edible; a minor timber.

7. Vitex strickeri Vatke & Hildebr.

(Incl. V. lamiana Pieper)

Shrub or climber 1-9m. Leaves trifoliate; leaflets ovate, apex acuminate, margin toothed or entire; terminal leaflet 3-.10 by 1.3-5.5cm; sandpapery above, more or less pubescent and glandular beneath (to almost glabrous). Flowers white, pale yellow near tip of lobes, in terminal and axillary panicles 1-8cm long; flowers 3-5mm long. Fruit black, globose, 3-8mm long.

K467; 1-1800m; I-V, IX-XI

Wooded grassland, (secondary) bushland; on the coast also in dry or moist forest.

Mvumba (SWA), Mfudu koma (DIG), Mukichano (GIR), Mwalika (KAM), Mukakinga (KIK), Mugombo (TAI). Fruit edible; wood used to make arrows by the Taita.


Vitex strickeri


Vitex strickeri

8. Vitex trifolia L. var. bicolor (Willd.) Moldenke (Vitex negundo L.)

Shrub or tree 1-9m. Leaves 3-5-foliolate; leaflets silvery-green beneath, apex acuminate; terminal leaflet 5-10 by 1.5-3cm; minutely but densely pubescent beneath. Flowers mauve, in terminal (sometimes also axillary) panicles 3-10cm long; flowers 3-5mm. Fruit 3-5mm long.

K7; near sealevel; V, X-XI *

An exotic from Asia occasionally gone wild in shore vegetation (Kilifi, Mombasa, Diani, Shimoni).

9. Vitex zanzibarensis Vatke RARE

A large forest tree. Leaves trifoliolate with a winged petiole, the petiole auriculate at base.

K7; forest at Gogoni and Kinondo.