Guide to plants of northern and east-central Mali



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Portulacaceae


[succulent herbs, more or less prostrate; dried specimens deteriorate badly]
Portulaca

Portulaca foliosa 50575

records: Bourem, San, Douentza, Nioro (Boudet); Sevare, Gao (JH)

habitat: wet areas

notes: erect or decumbent herb, often woody below; stipules thread-like and more or less persistent, leaves terete (circular in cross-section) and succulent (very similar to P. grandiflora), 0.7-2 cm long x 1-1.5 mm wide; clusters of 1-3 flowers yellow to orange, solitary or in small heads

Portulaca grandiflora

records: none (Boudet); planted around houses as ground cover, e.g. Timbuktu (JH)

notes: to 20 cm high; stem diffuse with long pale hairs (up to 0.7 cm long) at the nodes; stipules thread-like and more or less persistent, leaves terete (circular cross-section) and linear, 1-3 cm long x 0.2 cm wide; clusters of 3-5 terminal large white or yellow to rose-red flowers with woolly hairs around base

Portulaca oleracea 50576

records: Timbuktu, Macina (Boudet); Hombori, Douentza, Sevare (JH)

habitat: common annual weed in gardens and moist debris

notes: prostrate, a few stems radiating out from root; succulent reddish stems; stipules minute or obsolete, leaves flat, spathulate-oblanceolate, rounded at apex, flowers yellow

Portulaca quadrifida 50577

records: Dire, Timbuktu (Boudet)

habitat: uncultivated areas

notes: prostrate or decumbent herb, stems pinkish, stipules thread-like and more or less persistent, leaves highly variable, fleshy, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate to obovate, conspicuously woolly at the nodes, smallish yellow flowers




Ranunculaceae

Clematis


[Clematis site: http://members.home.nl/hanninkj/eigenclm.htm]

Clematis hirsuta var. glabrescens 50578

records: southern Mali (Boudet); if correctly identified, Hombori (JH)

habitat: moist galleries or undershrub

notes: liana, climbs to 20 feet on trees or rocks; leaflets less than 8 cm x 5 cm; numerous flowers in a panicle, sepals white to greenish-white
Nigella

Nigella sativa (imported spice: “nigella” or “love in the mist”)

records: sold in Timbuktu as a spice (JH)


Resedaceae

Reseda


Reseda villosa (Saharan)

records: at a well on caravan route to Azaouad (Boudet)




Rhamnaceae

Ziziphus


key:

flowers solitary or 2(-3) together; leaves roughly ovate, smaller than 1.2 cm x 1 cm; fruits 1 cm diameter (far northern Mali) Z. lotus

flowers many, in cymes; leaves usually larger than 2 cm x 1.5 cm

underside of leaf densely tomentose all over

base of leaves roughly symmetrical and equal, flowers in sessile or very shortly pedunculate subcapitate cymes, leaves 2-7 cm x 1-1.3 cm Z. mauritiana

base of leaves asymmetrical and unequal, flowers in shortly but distinctly pedunculate, branched cymes; leaves 3.5-10 cm x 1.3-5.5 cm Z. abyssinica

underside of leaf glabrous, or pubescent mainly on the nerves

leaves asymmetrical & subcordate at base, narrowed at top, often but not always acuminate; flowers in branched pedunculate many-flowered cymes; branches and branchlets red-brown Z. mucronata

leaves more or less symmetrical and rounded to cuneate at base, branchlets whitish

Z. spina-christi

Ziziphus abyssinica 50579

records: none (Boudet); summit of Tabi mountain (JH)

notes: shrub to 12 feet, purple-brown bark, branchlets and underside of leaves with fawn colored indumentum; flower yellow-green; fruit deep purple-brown

Ziziphus lotus subsp. saharae

records: Gao, Bourem (Boudet)

notes: much-branched shrub to 4 feet

Ziziphus mauritiana 50580 (jujube)

records: Adrar, Gao, Sanga, Bamako, Niono (Boudet); common in flat plains (JH)

habitat: riverbanks, moist spots in flat plains

notes: thorny shrub or tree; can be cultivated and some hybrids with Z. spina-christi are known

ethnobotany: the jujube fruit is sold in markets in dried form (fleshy part can be sucked or chewed); a hard dry cake made from the fruits is sold in markets

Ziziphus mucronata 50581

records: Segou, Macina, Mopti to Niafunke, San, Bamako (Boudet); scattered in northern Dogon country (JH)

habitat: beside ponds

notes: erect or scrambling shrub, spreading branches, old branches may zigzag (cf. Faidherbia albida); leaf ovate to broadly ovate, mucronate, 2.5-8 cm x 2.9-8 cm, shiny; thorns in pairs, one of each pair curved; small yellow flowers; reddish-brown glossy drupe, in two sizes on the same tree, fruits may remain on tree after defoliation

Ziziphus spina-christi (variants spina-christi and microphylla)

records: San, southern Mali (Boudet)

habitat: banks of water courses

notes: tree to 30 feet, pale grey bark, flowers greenish-yellow, fruits reddish when ripe


Rosaceae

Neurada procumbens

records: Agueraktem, Timbuktu (Boudet)

habitat: sand dunes

taxonomy: (Boudet:) can be confused with Coldenia procumbens

notes: woody tomentose annual with short spreading prostrate branches; leaf 1.5 cm long, long-petiolate, pinnately lobed or deeply toothed, densely white-woolly tomentose; solitary axillary flowers, roundish, surrounded by bristly bracteoles, woody globular fruit 1.5 cm diameter with spines

reference: Ibis


Rubiaceae

[interpetiolar stipules present, leaves simple and usually entire, calyx reduced usually 4-5-lobed, corolla usually 4-5-lobed]


subfamilies and tribes (subject to much controversy)

Rubioideae

Hedyotideae: Kohautia, Oldenlandia, Thecorchus

Spermacoceae: Mitracarpus, Spermacoce

Cinchonoideae

Coptosapelteae: Mitragyna

Naucleeae: Sarcocephalus

Vanguerieae: Keetia

Ixoroideae

Gardenieae: Gardenia, Macrosphyra, Morelia

Octotropideae: Feretia

Pavetteae: Pavetta


1. Rubioideae

1a. Hedyotideae: Kohautia, Oldenlandia, Thecorchus
Kohautia (close to Oldenlandia)

Kohautia aspera (syn Oldenlandia leclercii)

records: Adrar (Boudet)

Kohautia senegalensis (see K. tenuis)

Kohautia tenuis (syn K. senegalensis [thus Boudet, Adventrop, FWTA2])

records: Timbuktu, Bamako, Dire to Bandiagara (Boudet)

habitat: cleared sandy land, beside roads, often with karité or Faidherbia (Boudet)

notes: [FWTA2 2:209 for K. senegalensis] erect, slender-branched annual 1-3 feet; stems smooth; leaf linear 3-5 cm x 0.1-0.3 cm, glabrous; pedicels 1-3.2 cm long in fruit, slightly shorter in flower; flowers dull brownish, white, or pink

reference: Adventrop (K. senegalensis)


Oldenlandia (close to Kohautia and Thecorchus)

Oldenlandia capensis

records:

var. capensis 50587: San, Djenne, Bamako, Bandiagara, Sofara, Timbuktu (Boudet)

var. pleiosepala: San (Boudet)

habitat: rice fields, pond edges

notes: annual herb 3-4 inches to 1 foot; flowers white; (from photo of CIRAD specimen): flowers at branching axes (more or less sessile)

Oldenlandia corymbosa 50588 (resembles Scoparia dulcis, Scrophulariaceae)

records: southern Mali (Boudet)

notes: (from photo of CIRAD specimen) tiny fruits bunched 2-3 on short branching peduncles

flower (CIRAD) (misspelled):

Oldenlandia sclerophylla

records: Timbuktu, Gao (Boudet)

notes: small branched herb

taxonomy: very close to C. capensis but leaves wider; Boudet p. 240 unsure of status of sp.; not in CIRAD herbarium as a separate species; in African Flowering Plant Database as separate sp.
Thecorchus [close to Oldenlandia]

Thecorchus wauensis

records: lac Debo, Segou, San

habitat: sandy margins of rivers and lakes


1b. Spermacoceae: Mitracarpus, Spermacoce
Borreria

Borreria chaetocephala (see Spermacoce chaetocephala)

Borreria compressa (see Spermacoce hepperana)

Borreria filifolia (see Spermacoce filifolia)

Borreria radiata (see Spermacoce radiata)

Borreria ruelliae (see Spermacoce ruelliae)

Borreria scabra (see Spermacoce ruelliae)

Borreria stachydea (see Spermacoce stachydea)

Borreria verticillata (see Spermacoce verticillata)
Mitracarpus (resembles Spermacoce)

Mitracarpus hirtus 50590 (syns Mitracarpus scaber [thus FWTA2], Mitracarpus villosus [thus Boudet])

records: Timbuktu, Niafuke, lac Fati, Sanga, Sikasso, Bamako (Boudet); common in most of northern Dogon country (JH)

habitat: moist sand, recently cleared fields

notes: small erect weed; leaf lanceolate 3-6 cm x 0.7-1.5 cm (leaf shorter than for Spermacoce spp. of similar size); large white flower clusters

taxonomy: there has been an extended debate among botanists about the choice between “M. hirta” and “M. villosa” revolving around rules of nomenclature going back to Linnaeus’ Spermacoce hirta



Mitracarpus scaber (see Mitracarpus hirtus)

Mitracarpus villosus (see Mitracarpus hirtus)
Spermacoce (small erect herbs, some spp. hard to distinguish; similar to Mitracarpus and superficially similar to Monechma ciliaris, Acanthaceae)

[reference: Adventrop features S. chaetocephala, S. radiata, S. stachydea]

[when collecting, observe flowers (many or few, throat narrow or bell-shaped; if no flowers present, observe stem cross-sectional shape, presence of hairs on stems, and texture of leaves (sleek, coarse, or hairy), before specimens shrivel]

key:


stems pilose or densely pubescent (not merely hairs in a vertical line)

conspicuous nerve along each leaf margin: radiata

no such conspicuous nerve

perennial, straggling or tufted & ascending stachydea var. stachydea

annual herb, more or less erect

to 30 cm, bracteate leaves narrowed at base, sharply angled quadrangular stem, coarsely pubescent, flowers with narrow throat

ruelliae

to 60 cm, bracteate leaves widened at base, rounded quadrangular stem, hairy plant, flower bell-shaped stachydea var. stachydea

stems glabrous (sleek) or hairy only on the angles

flowers few and large, leaves linear-lanceolate hepperana

flowers small and numerous, often in globose heads

stem square, hairy or ciliate on angles chaetocephala

stem obscurely angled, glabrous

terminal inflorescence globose verticellata

terminal inflorescence if any overtopped by leafy bracts filifolia
Spermacoce chaetocephala 50591 (syn Borreria chaetocephala)

records: Adrar, Niono, Sikasso, Nioro du Sahel (Boudet); Konna, Segue (JH)

habitat: sandy or sandy-clayey soil

notes: erect annual herb with rather stout stem, slightly branched; to 60 cm high; stem quadrangular and robust; leaf 3-7 cm long, 4-15 mm wide; many small flowers in glomerules up to 2 cm wide

reference: Adventices

Spermacoce filifolia 50592 (syn Borreria filifolia)

records: San, Ansongo, Macina, Bamako, Niono, Bandiagara to Mopti (Boudet); Bendiely, Segue, Nando, rare or absent in northern Dogon country (JH)

habitat: wet sand, temporary ponds, clay (Boudet); among grasses in moist places (FWTA2)

notes: erect slender glabrous herb, simple or branched, 1-2 feet or less; stem obscurely angled; flowers white, corolla-lobes s.t. purple; terminal inflorescence if any overtopped by leafy bracts, numerous filiform bracteoles between the flowers and of the same length; leaf filiform, 4-7 cm long (cf. S. hepperana)

Spermacoce hepperana (syn Borreria compressa) [get photo]

records: Diafarabe, Bamako (Boudet)

habitat: riverside, sand or clayey sand; rock outcrops (FWTA2)

notes: herb decumbent at base then strictly erect and practically unbranched, glabrous, 1 2 feet; leaf linear-lanceolate 4-15 cm x 0.2-0.9 cm; flowers white, yellowish, or s.t. tinged mauve

Spermacoce radiata 50594 (syn Borreria radiata)

records: Timbuktu, Niono, Gossi, Koulikoro (Boudet); common in far north, apparently rare or absent in Dogon country (JH)

habitat: sand, more xerophile and heliophile (i.e. likes dry and sunny zones) than other spp. of the genus

notes: plant to 30 cm high, s.t. half-woody below; stem cylindrical, pilose or densely pubescent, often tinted reddish-purple, may be semi-woody at the base; leaf 3-6 cm long, 4-6 mm wide, with conspicuous nerve along each margin (in addition to central nerve); glomerules with tiny white or mauve flowers may be penetrated by several small leaves

Spermacoce ruelliae 50595 (syn Borreria scabra, B. ruelliae) [like S. stachydea but smaller and less hairy]

records: Macina, Bandiagara to Mopti, Sikasso (Boudet); Konna, Djenne, fairly common in Dogon country (JH)

habitat: clear underbrush on sand, edge of shrubby forests (Boudet); weed (FWTA2)

notes: erect annual herb with or without branches, 30 cm high, scabrid and coarsely pubescent; sharp-angled quadrangular stem; leaf linear to linear-lanceolate; flower white or s.t. pink with narrow throat, more wide-open at top than S stachydea; calyx with filiform teeth 3 mm long, leaf narrowed at base

Spermacoce stachydea var. stachydea 50597 (syn Borreria stachydea) [similar to S. ruellia but much bigger and more hairy]

records: Niono, Macina, Segou (Boudet); Anda, fairly common in Dogon country (JH)

habitat: clear underbrush, alluvial plains

notes: erect or spreading hairy annual or perennial plant to 60 cm high; leaf broadened at base, 3-9 cm long, 7-20 mm wide; rounded quadrangular stem; flower bell-shaped, mauve-tinged, calyx has 4 lobes of which 2 are full-sized and two reduced

Spermacoce verticillata 50598 (syn Borreria verticillata)

records: San, Gao-Ansongo, Segou, Bourem (Boudet)

habitat: rice fields, alluvions from streams

notes: erect, glabrous branched undershrub or half-woody herb 1-2 feet; stem obscurely angled; globose terminal inflorescence 1-1.5 cm diam usually with 2 leafy bracts 1 cm long reflexed beneath; leaf 3-5 cm long, 5-10 mm wide
2. Cinchonoideae

2a. Coptosapelteae: Mitragyna
Mitragyna

Mitragyna inermis 50586

records: San, Nampala (Boudet); northern Dogon country, Hombori (JH)

habitat: lightly inundatable areas in savanna

notes: shrub to low-branching tree 20-40 feet; scaly bark; leaf obovate-elliptic 6-9 cm x 3.5-5 cm, petiole 1 cm, stipules 1.5-2 cm (early caducous); flower-heads white
2b. Naucleeae: Sarcocephalus
Nauclea (see Sarcocephalus)
Sarcocephalus

Sarcocephalus latifolius 50589 (syn Nauclea latifolia [thus Boudet])

records: Bamako, south (Boudet); Kikara, Beni, Anda, Kubewel, Gouna (JH)

habitat: wet sand, riverbanks, moist rocky areas

notes: straggling shrub or small tree to 10 feet; fragrant white flowers; very large round reddish fruits
2c. Vanguerieae: Keetia
Canthium

Canthium cornelia (see Keetia cornelia)
Keetia

Keetia cornelia (syn Canthium cornelia [thus Boudet])

records: lac Debo, Niafunke to Dire, San, Kita (Boudet)

habitat: riverbanks, moist thickets

notes: straggling shrub; leaf usually cuneate 4-10 cm x 2.5 cm, pubescent at least on nerves below; flowers greenish-yellow in closely-bunched inflorescence, calyx deeply lobed
3. Ixoroideae

3a. Gardenieae: Gardenia, Macrosphyra, Morelia
Gardenia

Gardenia erubescens 50701

records: Gouna (Tomo Kan speaking zone) (JH)

ethnobotany: yellow fruit edible (versus inedible fruit of G. ternifolia)

Gardenia sokotensis 50583

records: Bamako, Sanga-Nigari (Boudet); Kiri (near Koro), Bounou (JH)

habitat: rocky shelfs, granite, shaded gravel

notes: shrub 1-2.5 m; leaf oblong-elliptic, 2-10 cm x 1-5 cm; flowers white, corolla-tube 1-1.2 cm, with 5 lobes; reddish fruit with pointed extensions at tip (remainder of dried calyx)

Gardenia ternifolia subsp. jovis tonantis var. goetzei 50584

records: Diafarabe, Segou, south (Boudet); Songho, Diangassagou (JH)

habitat: savanna

notes: shrub 5-15 feet; plant glabrous; leaf obovate to 19 cm x 7 cm; fragrant white flowers opening at night, turning yellow next day, corolla-tube 4-9 cm; large hard fruit

ethnobotany: fruit (medicinal) was seen in the possession of a man at Tupere (Tabi mountain), well north of the current range of the tree
Macrosphyra

Macrosphyra longistyla 50585

records: Sanga, south (Boudet); Walo (JH)

habitat: shaded banks, fractures in stone shelfs

notes: scandent shrub; velvety leaf obovate to obovate-lanceolate 9-19 cm x 5.5-11 cm; fragrant flowers white, cream, or yellowish; large spherical fruit 4-5 cm wide, green turning black, with small extension at tip (remainder of calyx)
Morelia

Morelia senegalensis

records: Macina, Bamako, Segou (Boudet)

habitat: forest galleries

notes: tree to 40 feet high, low-branching; leaf oblong-elliptic, 12 cm x 5-6 cm, petiole 1 cm; fragrant white flowers in abundant cymes
3b. Octotropideae: Feretia
Feretia

Feretia apodanthera 50582

records: Bamako, Sanga, Bandiagara, Mopti to San, Nioro du Sahel, Ouan Foras, Macina (Boudet)

habitat: moist areas, sandy pond margins

notes: shrub

ethnobotany: straight branches widely used in making stirring-sticks


3c. Pavetteae: Pavetta
Pavetta

Pavetta cinereifolia

Boudet: southern Mali

Pavetta gardeniifolia var. gardeniifolia (syn P. saxicola [thus FWTA2])

records: Douentza, Ouarsada (Boudet)

habitat: wooded savanna on gravel; rocky hills

notes: erect shrub to 6 feet; glossy leaves, obovate or oblanceolate 3-6.5 cm x 1.2-2 cm, almost sessile at base, glabrous; yellow flowers, corolla-tube 0.8-1.2 cm; black fruits

Pavetta saxicola (see P. gardeniifolia var. gardeniifolia)


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