Guide to plants of northern and east-central Mali

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Sphenoclea zeylanica 50635

records: Beni, Walo, Adia (JH)

notes: herb; leaf lanceolate 10 cm x 3 cm, glabrous; terminal spiciform flower spike (cf. Nelsonia canescens, Acanthaceae); spike turns orange when mature

ref.: illustration FWTA2 p. 308


[now s.t. included under Malvaceae s.l. as tribe Sterculioideae]
Cola [trees]

imported kola nuts 50640

Cola acuminata 50636

notes (FWTA2 vol 1 p. 325): fruiting carpels russet-brown or olivaceous, surface rough to touch owing to a minute indumentum, but not knobbly, up to 20 cm x 6 cm, narrowed to apex, upper suture not conspicuously ridged, apex not deflexed (bent over)

Cola nitida 50639

notes (FWTA2 vol 1 p. 325): fruiting carpels green and shiny, surface smooth to touch but knobbly with large tubercles, up to 13 cm x 7 cm, upper suture forming a conspicuous ridge produced into a short deflexed beak


Cola cordifolia 50637

records: Bamako, Sanga (Boudet); Kikara, Beni, Anda (JH)

habitat: shrubby savanna

notes: wide-branching tree; very broad leaves; fruits in clusters of 4 or so radiating out

ethnobotany: seeds edible (sugary)

Cola laurifolia 50638

records: Mopti to Djenne, Macina (Boudet); Kubewel, Anda, Bounou, Kikara (JH)

habitat: riverbanks

notes: wide-branching tree; elliptic leaves; fruits in clusters of 8 or so


Melhania denhamii (Saharan)

records: Timbuktu, Tibart (Boudet)

habitat: sand

notes: small shrublet, woody at the base; branches and leaves softly stellate-tomentose; leaves ovate-elliptic, subcordate at base, rounded or truncate at apex, 3 cm x 1.5 cm, crenate-serrate; flowers axillary, solitary, enclosed in 3 large bracteoles; small capsule

reference: Fl Egypt vol 2 p. 113

Melochia (resemble Waltheria but capsules 5-valved)

Melochia bracteosa (see M. melissifolia var. microphylla)

Melochia corchorifolia 50641

records: Gourma Rharous, Gossi, Koulikoro, Gao (Boudet); Bore, Bounou, Boro, fairly common at pond margins in Dogon country especially on the plateau, also very common along Niger R. in northern Mali (JH)

habitat: sandy-clayey or clayey inundatable zones

notes: usually erect herb or undershrub, 1.5-2 feet, hollow stems; petiole 1/3 to 1/2 as long as leaf blade; flowers in terminal clusters, flowers small, white or s.t. yellowish or pinkish

Melochia melissifolia var. microphylla (possibly = M. bracteosa)

records: Yanfolila (Boudet)

habitat: wooded savanna

notes: erect herb; petioles very short; flowers axillary

Sterculia setigera 5063

records: Bamako, Bandiagara to Mopti, Niono (Boudet); Diangassagou to Segue, unknown in northern Dogon country (JH)

habitat: skeletal soils

notes: tree to 40 feet; bark rough, yielding a white gum; flowers dull red or yellowish-green with red streaks, appearing before new foliage; fruiting carpels 4-5, grey to brownish outside

ethnobotany: gum (resin) commercialized in southern Mali

Waltheria (resembles Melochia)

Waltheria indica

records: Gossi, Timbuktu, Gao, Sanga, Koulikoro (Boudet); common throughout Songhay and northern Dogon country (JH)

habitat: moist sand in depressions

notes: erect herb, entire plant covered by soft long hairs; capsule 2-valved

native name: often called “mother/cousin of fire” or the like (said to grow quickly after bush fires)

Taccaceae (see Dioscoreaceae)


Tamarix (evergreen trees, native to Sahara)

Tamarix amplexicaulis (syns T. balansae, T. pauciovulata)

records: Kessert Gani (Boudet)

habitat: oueds

notes: larger tree, usually wider than tall

Tamarix aphylla (syn T. orientalis, T. articulata)

records: Kessert Gani (Boudet)

habitat: oueds

notes: larger tree

Tamarix gallica

records: none (Boudet); common in southern Algeria

[comment on Sahara-Nature website Jan 2008: “Le nom tamahaq Azaoua donné à Tamarix pauciavulata J. Gay, est également le nom donné à Tamarix gallica (L.) ”]


[now s.t. included under Malvaceae s.l. in tribe Grewioideae]
Corchorus 50647 (herbs, flowers yellow)

[herbs used in preparation of Songhay-style dark green fakou-hoy sauce]

key (FWTA2 vol 1 p. 308)

leaf-blade 0.5-2 cm long, ± long as or shorter than petiole, woody, prostrate depressus

leaf-blade much longer than petiole

leaf w.o. basal hair-like auricle, up to 10 cm x 0.5-1.5 cm fascicularis

leaf usually with such auricle

capsule with 3 divergent beaks at the apex, valves not clearly ridged inside

leaf ovate(-lanceolate) 3-6 cm x 2-3 cm, pods winged 1.5-2.5 cm aestuans

leaf (linear-)lanceolate 3-9 cm x 1-1.5 cm, pods 2.5-3.5 cm tridens

capsule with entire beak, valves with transverse ridges inside

capsule 5-valved, leaf (ovate-)lanceolate up to 20 cm x 7 cm olitorius

capsule 3-valved, leaf elliptic or ovate-lanceolate 4-8 cm x 1-1.5 cm trilocularis
Corchorus acutangulus (see C. aestuans)

Corchorus aestuans 50644 (syn C. acutangulus)

records: Macina (Boudet); Segue (JH)

habitat: grassy savanna, fallow land, sandy riverbeds, etc.

notes: branching annual (or perennial), some branches tend to be prostrate; leaves with basal hair-like auricles; leaf ovate(-lanceolate) 3-6 cm x 2-3 cm (i.e. broader than C. tridens); pods acutely winged 1.5-2.5 cm long, fairly stout; capsule with 3 divergent beaks at the apex, valves without distinct distinct transverse ridges inside

Corchorus depressus

records: Timbuktu, Gao, Tabankort-Kidal (Boudet)

habitat: desert, dry regions

notes: prostrate herb 30 cm long, woody branches, taproot may be thick; short leaf-blade 0.5-2 cm long, petiole about as long as or longer than leaf blade; subsessile fruits 2 cm long, beaked, breaking into 4 valves

reference: Fl Egypt vol. 2 p. 88; Flore du Sahara (2nd ed) p. 560

Corchorus fascicularis

records: Macina, Gao, south (Boudet)

habitat: variable

notes: herb, branches often lax, to 4 feet high; leaf without basal hairlike auricle, up to 10 cm x 0.5-1.5 cm; fruits shortly beaked 1-1.5 cm long, in fascicles; valves not septate (=partitioned) within

reference: Adventices

Corchorus olitorius (cultivated or wild)

records (wild): Douentza, Beni, Bounou (JH)

notes: erect or prostrate annual herb 0.6-2 m tall, often woody at base; long leaf up to 20 cm x 7 cm (much bigger than C. trilocularis), (ovate )lanceolate, with basal hairlike auricle; stout 5-valved capsule 3-6 cm long, abruptly narrowed to the apex, beak entire, distinct transverse ridges inside valves

ethnobotany: preferred leaves for fakou-hoy sauce, cultivated by Songhay for this purpose

reference: Adventices, Fl Egypt vol. 2 p. 88

Corchorus tridens

records: Niono, Timbuktu, Gao, Adrar, Bamako, Nioro du Sahel (Boudet); Tupere, Sevare, Segue, fairly common in Dogon country (JH)

habitat: woodland and bushland, usually in shade, many soil types

notes: annual herb 0.2-1 m tall, usually erect but with older branches spreading; leaves with basal hair-like auricles; leaf lanceolate or linear-lanceolate 3-9 cm x 1-1.5 cm (i.e. narrower than C. aestuans); capsule with 3 divergent beaks at the apex, valves without distinct distinct transverse ridges inside

reference: Adventices; Fl Egypt vol. 2 p. 89

Corchorus trilocularis

records: Adrar (Boudet)

habitat: grassland, weed of cultivation

notes: annual (or perennial) herb to 1-1.5 m tall, herbaceous or woody, erect and branching or sometimes with decumbent branches if browsed; leaf elliptic to oblong-lanceolate 4-8 cm x 1-1.5 cm (much smaller than C. olitorius); leaves with basal hair-like auricles; slender 3-valved capsule 3-6 cm long, gradually narrowed to apex; beak entire, distinct transverse ridges inside valves

reference: Fl Egypt vol 2 p. 89

Grewia 50652 (shrubs)

Grewia bicolor 50649

records: Timbuktu, Niono, Sanga, Gossi, Mopti to San (Boudet); Hombori (near hills), widespread in Dogon country

habitat: clayey depressions, base of hills

notes: shrub; leaves has conspicuous color difference, topside dark green, underside whitish; leaf margin very finely denticulate (hard to see dentations)

ethnobotany: leaves sold in towns (e.g. Douentza) as fodder; wood used

Grewia flavescens var. flavescens 50650

records: Sanga, Tikimsa, Menaka (Boudet); Hombori, Kikara, Pergue, generally known in Dogon country (JH)

habitat: rocky hills

notes: shrub; leaves less wide than G. lasiodiscus, dentation of leaf margin conspicuous, numerous fruits

ethnobotany: edible fruit (best of the Grewia spp.), sold in some markets

Grewia lasiodiscus 50651

records: Bamako, Koulouba (Boudet); Tabi (rare), Kubewel (JH)

habitat: savanna

notes: shrub; leaves wider than those of G. flavescens, fruits somewhat isolated

ethnobotany: fruits edible, branches medicinal (excessive cutting has killed many of the remaining shrubs)

Grewia tenax 50653

records: Sahara, Timbuktu, Gao, lac Debo, Douentza, Bandiagara to Dire (Boudet); Tabi, Kubewel (JH)

notes: shrub; very small leaves, tiny red fruits 2-4 stuck together

Grewia villosa 50654

records: Menaka, Gao, Douentza-Hombori (Boudet); Hombori, Kikara, Pergue, Kubewel (JH)

habitat: clayey depressions, often with stones

notes: shrub; very large leaf, nearly circular, coarse and hairy

Triumfetta pentandra

records: Djenne, Sanga, San, Koulikoro (Boudet); Nando, Konna (JH)

habitat: clayey and sandy-clayey depressions, in the shade, roadsides

notes: erect herb, leaves alternate, margins dentate, tip gently pointed, leaves at base roughly oval with red petioles, leaves at top smaller, less wide, and more or less sessile; axillary clusters of orange-yellow flowers becoming burr-like fruits

ref.: Adventrop

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