Guide to plants of northern and east-central Mali

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herbs, generally erect; leaves opposite (2) or verticillate (4), usually entire but occasionally dentate at the base; upper ovary of flower develops into an extended capsule fruit divided into two halves, which may open explosively (expelling seeds); flower with 4-5 petals


Blepharis ciliaris

records: north of Gao (Boudet)

(more southerly specimens previously confused with B. linariifolia)

notes: conspicuous thorns

Blepharis linariifolia 50008 (s.t. spelled lineariifolia)

records: Goundam, Niono, Bandiagara-Mopti (Boudet); Hombori, Kikara (summit), Tupere, Douentza area, common at Bounou (JH)

habitat: sandy

notes: low-growing herb; conspicuous bright blue flowers in erect spikes 2-8 cm long; first (lowest) leaves often with dentations near base, other leaves linear (long and very thin); little or no petiole to leaf; stem cylindrical

Blepharis maderaspatensis subsp. rubiifolia 50009

records: Koulikoro, San, Niono (Boudet); Adia (JH)

notes: procumbent shrubby herb; small white flowers; leaves wider than B. lineariifolia, verticilate by 4, little or no petiole to leaf; stem cylindrical


Dicliptera verticillata 50010

records: Bamako (Boudet, Supplement, p. 435)

habitat: likes clay and limestone soils

notes: decumbent perennial herb, woody toward the base, several-angled stems up to 1 m long; leaves opposite (2); petiole 1-3 cm; hexagonal stem cross-section, small mauve flowers

taxonomy: this binomial was also (mis-)applied F.W.T.A. to D. hyalina


Hygrophila africana (not in Berhaut)

records: Sanga (Boudet ex Griaule)

habitat: beside water courses

reference: Heine, Kew Bull 16:176 (1962)

Hygrophila auriculata 50011

records: near Kidal, Niono (Boudet); Douentza (pond, and road to Fombori), Bounou, Bamba (JH)

habitat: wet areas, beside ponds

notes: stout annual herb to 1 m high, leaves opposite, lanceolate to 25 cm long, sessile (no petiole); quadrangular stem cross-section, some white hairs on stems; flowers blue-mauve (occasionally white) in bunches where leaves join stem, mixed with conspicuous thorns 2-4 cm long; capsule to 3 cm long with 8 grains; stem and fruits persist through end of dry season

Hygrophila micrantha 50012 [resembles Monechma ndellense]

records: Gao, Diafarabé, Gourma area (Boudet); earlier Hombori record probably error for Monechma ndellense (JH)

habitat: humid areas

notes: small plant, lanceolate leaves 2-3 cm long; small violet-blue flowers; linear capsule 8 mm.

Hygrophila senegalensis 50688

records: Niono, Gossi, Koulikoro (Boudet)

habitat: humid or swampy areas

notes: erect herb to 40 cm high; leaves linear 3 to 9 cm, opposite (by 2); quadrangular stem cross-section; dark violet-blue flowers, isolated or in fascicles, at top of stem forming a kind of spike with tiny leaves; fusiform capsule 7 mm

Hypoestes forskalei 50013 (also spelled forskalii, forskaolii; in Berhaut as H. verticillaris)

records: Djenne, Gao, south of Mopti

habitat: lightly inundated depressions, clay or sandy

notes: perennial, often in patches; rings around stem, from each ring there emerge two opposite leaves and two flower spikes; leaves oval-elliptical 4 to 12 cm long, petiole 5-12 mm (to 6 cm in rainy season); stem round; small white flowers in bunches or small spikes

Hypoestes verticillaris (see H. forskalei)

Lepidagathis anobrya 50014

records: Kita, Sanga, Koulikoro (Boudet); Tupere, Kikara (JH)

habitat: gravelly, rocky

notes: notable for having a wide globular inflorescence on the ground, with many linear bracts among the flowers, sometimes also other similar inflorescences higher up the stem; stem quadrangular

Monechma ciliatum 50015

records: San, Niono, Gosi, Sotuba (Boudet); common in dense low vegetation near water in the Dogon plateau, e.g. Nando and Bendiely (JH)

habitat: savanna, fields, rice paddies

notes: annual herb 15-50 cm high, leaves opposite, lanceolate to 5-10 cm long; quadrangular stem; small flowers with white corolla in clusters of 2-3 flowers; white hairs on calyx; capsule 8-9 mm.

Monechma ndellense 50016 [resembles Hygrophila micrantha]

records: Sanga, Sikasso (Boudet); Anda, Walo (JH)

habitat: rocks

notes: 30-70 cm high; leaves opposite, 2-8 cm long, sometimes bunched; flowers in terminal spike 3-8 cm; many small capsules in spikes

Nelsonia canescens 50017

records: Sanga, Bamako, Douentza (Boudet); Beni, Diangassagou (in sand) (JH()

habitat: pastures

notes: perennial; trails on ground; leaves opposite, much larger in young plant (rainy season) than during flowering; long dense flower spikes with small blue flowers

ethnobotany: known to some Dogon for its salty taste on being sucked


Peristrophe bicalyculata 50018

records: Gao, Bandiagara-Mopti, Koulikoro (Boudet); Songho, Fombori (near Douentza), Menaka (JH)

habitat: shade

notes: perennial herb to over 1 m high; stem hexagonal; inflorescence in terminal panicle, flowers at ends of pedicels 5-10 mm; corolla mauve (s.t. white); capsule with two “teeth” emerging from both halves when opened

Ruellia patula 50019 (not in Berhaut; occurs in Arabia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, etc.)

records: Gao (Boudet); Walo (JH)

habitat: verging on brousse tigrée


BOULOS, L. (1972). FLORA OF EGYPT. Al Harara Publishing. Cairo. vol.3 p.101

MONOD, Th. (1940). Contributions à l’étude du Sahara occidental. Fasc. II. Phanérogames. Publ. Comité Etudes Hist. Scient. Afrique Occid. Franç. Sér. B, 5(2): 53-211 (1939). p.1

OZENDA, P. (1983). Flore du Sahara (ed. 2). Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS.), Paris, 622p. p.575


Ruspolia hypocrateriformis var. hypocrateriformis (fruit capsules similar to Ruellia)

records: Kita (Boudet)

shrub 1-2 m; leaves opposite 6-10 cm x 4-6 cm, summit acuminate, 3-5 lateral nerves, petioles up to 2 cm; flowers in spiciform terminal panicle; corolla bright red with darker velvety center, 5-lobed flower; capsule 2-3 cm long with two “teeth” inside each half when opened

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