Practical identification guide to plants of northern and east-central Mali
especially northern Dogon country but includes species of northern Mali (Songhay-, Arabic-, and Tuareg-speaking zones) and of central and southern Dogon country
compiled by Jeffrey Heath (Linguistics, University of Michigan)
[note: alphabetical list of genera at the end of this document!]
main contents below:
Major botanical websites Algae
Lichens Taxonomy of flowering plants (APG II system) flowering plant families (alphabetical):
Agavaceae (see also Ruscaceae)
Aizoaceae (see also Gisekiaceae, Molluginaceae)
Ampelidaceae (see Vitaceae)
Apiaceae (= Umbelliferae)
Araceae (ex-Lemnaceae at end of section)
Arecaceae (= Palmae)
Asclepiadaceae (see Apocynaceae)
Asteraceae (= Compositae)
Caesalpinaceae (see Fabaceae-Caesalpinoideae)
Capparaceae (see ex-Capparaceae under Brassicaceae)
Compositae (see Asteraceae)
Cruciferae (now included in Brassicaceae)
Fabaceae--Faboideae (= Papilionoideae)
Hippocrataceae (see Celastraceae)
Hydrocharitaceae (= Limnocharitaceae)
Hydroleaceae (= Hydrophyllaceae)
Hydrophyllaceae (see Hydroleaceae)
Labiatae (see Lamiaceae)
Lamiaceae (= Labiatae)
Lemnaceae (now included in Araceae)
Mimosaceae (see Fabaceae--Mimosoideae)
Najadaceae (see Hydrocharitaceae)
Onagraceae (= Oenotheraceae)
Palmae (see Arecaceae)
Papilionaceae (see Fabaceae--Faboideae)
Periplocaceae (see Apocynaceae)
Poaceae (= Gramineae)
Ruscaceae (see Dracaenaceae)
Taccaceae (see Dioscoreaceae)
Umbelliferae (see Apiaceae)
Xanthorrhoeaceae (see Asphodelaceae)
Preface general. This “guide” is a compilation of (mostly published) information about plant species of northern and northeastern Mali where I have been doing linguistic research for some years. It is designed for my own use and that of other fieldworkers in linguistics, anthropology, and ecology, but no guarantees are made. All technical botanical information has been lifted from published sources and this guide should never be cited or relied on for any scientific purpose, though it may be useful as a starting point.
The main body of the guide is organized by botanical families in alphabetical order (“algae,” “ferns,” “fungi,” and “lichens” are treated for this purpose as families but are positioned up front). Within a family, the genera are usually listed alphabetically, but in large families (e.g. Fabaceae, Poaceae) there are subdivisions corresponding to subfamilies and tribes.
flora spreadsheet[link]. The flora spreadsheet contains the native terms for plants in Dogon languages, along with the basic scientific terms (sortable by family, genus, and species). Importantly, it also includes the five-digit codes we use for taxa that have native-language names. These codes are included in file names of our images, and are therefore useful in searching for images. These five-digit codes can be gleaned from the Dogon flora spreadsheet [link]. For the large family of legumes (Fabaceae), the family is subdivided into Caealpinioideae, Faboideae (= Papilionoideae), and Mimosoideae.
Many species are illustrated by photographs and drawings on the web. We also have many photos of plants in nature and of fresh specimens, as well as dried specimens of our own or from herbaria (some old images from Kew, many rmore recent ones from CIRAD-Montpellier).
Typical file names from the flowering plants list are:
In the flowering plants list, after "fl" for flora and the family Acanthaceae comes the genus, e.g. Monechma, and the species, e.g. ndellense. The five-digit code such as "50016" is a reference for the taxon (it remains stable even if the species identification changes, either as a correction or due to a taxonomic revision). Other information that may occur late in the file name are our specimen number, the location, the part of the plant that is featured ("entire", "fl[ower]", "fr[uit]", "lf" (leaf), "br[anch]", "tr[unk]", "fol[iage]", "close" (close-up). "JH" occurs at the end of file names for images that we have copyright on.
Typical file names from the nonflowering plants list are:
plans. We are currently mainly involved in the elicitation of native names and the scientific identification of the taxa (including collection and processing of specimens). As time goes on we plan to shift more into an ethnobotanical mode, collecting information from our informants and collating it with published works, including Burkill). We will also pay more attention to location records, especially for uncommon species.
Plant taxonomy Immediately below is a synopsis of top-down botanical classification, which is rather in flux at the moment. In general I use the APG II system (APG = Angiosperm Phylogeny Group), but I check Wikipedia for updates. I have generally relied on the (online) African Flowering Plant Database for taxonomic updates at the species level, without knowing much about how it is managed.
At the moment I have put relatively little information in this guide about grasses (Poaceae) since we use the monograph Les poacées du Niger, by Pierre Poilecot of CIRAD, and since elaborate species descriptions are available in the online Kew grass database (see links below). Likewise, the availability of various works on trees and shrubs with taxonomic keys and images, notably Michel Arbonnier’s Arbres, arbustes et lianes des zones sèches de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, makes it unnecessary to include much information on certain trees. Other species, or groups of species, are mentioned but neglected because they appear to be rare in the zone I am currently working in.
A typical entry consists of species binomial and any synonymns, followed by location records for Mali (mostly from Boudet, Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali, supplemented where useful by my own records), habitat, “notes” (taxonomically relevant descriptive information), and occasionally further information. Many entries conclude with web links or (in green) references to my own photographs. For some difficult groups I have included simple “keys”.
I thank the late Pierre Poilecot of CIRAD for his invaluable help in identifying hundreds of my Malian plant specimens. Michel Arbonnier of CIRAD likewise provided useful assistance on trees and shrubs. I also thank Anthony Reznicek of the University of Michigan Herbarium, and Steve Renvoise of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. None of them were involved in preparing this “guide,” whose errors are my responsibility.
Criticisms and corrections are welcome. (J Heath email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Major botanical websites African Flowering Plant Database [best source for up to date taxonomy]
in addition to specific links in the species entries below, for other spp. try making a link as http://plants.jstor.org/taxon/Genus.Species replacing "Genus" and "species" with relevant taxon (separated by a period .), e.g. http://plants.jstor.org/taxon/Tribulus.mollis
Benchelah, A.-C., H. Bouziane, M. Maka, & C. Ouahès. 2000. Fleurs du Sahara: Voyage ethnobotanique avec les Touaregs du Tassili. Paris: Ibis Press, Antlantica.
Boullard, Bernard. 2001. Plantes médicinales du monde: réalités et croyances. Paris: ESTEM.
Bremness, Lesley. 1994. Herbs. (Eyewitness Handbooks.) London/New York: Dorling Kindersley.
Chastanet, Monique (ed.). 1998. Plantes et paysages d'Afrique. Paris: Karthala.
Close-Arceduc, M. 1956. "Étude sur photographies aériennes d'une formation végétale sahélienne: la brousse tigrée." Bull. de l'Inst. Franç. d'Afr. Noire 18(3):677-684.
Malgras, Denis. 1992. Arbres et arbustes guérisseurs des savanes maliennes. Paris: Karthala.
Rohwer, J. G. 2002. Guides des plantes tropicales. Paris: Delachaux & Nistelé. [trans. from Pflanzen der Tropen, 1000, BLV Verlagsgesellschaft, München).
Thoyer, Annik. 1986. Plantes médicinales du Mali. Bamako: Imprimerie Mathey.