Guide to plants of northern and east-central Mali

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Commiphora africana 50152

records: Goundam, Bandiagara, Gao, Hombori (Boudet); scattered through Dogon country (JH)

habitat: sandy

notes: small tree 2-6 m; alternate trifoliate leaves; leaflets on side (2 cm x 1.5 cm) much smaller than terminal leaflet (3-4 cm x 1.2-2 cm), leaflets with a few rounded dentations; leaf has petiole 0.5-3 cm but leaflets are sessile; short lateral branches ending in thorny points; red flowers, fasciculated on stems (Jan-May when tree is defoliated); obovoid drupes, red at maturity

ethnobotany: resin is myrrh-like (“bdellium”), burned as incense

Commiphora pedunculata 50154

records: Quiebele, Koutiala (Boudet); mostly south of Douentza, but also collected near Walo on inselberg summit (JH)

notes: shrub 1-4 m; alternate imparipennate leaves 8-15 cm with 5-7 pairs of sessile leaflets with fine dentations; terminal leaflet has slender base; leaflets oblong-elliptical 2-5 cm x 1-2 cm (resemble leaves of Lannea humilis, Anacardiaceae, which however lack dentations); petiole 2-4 cm; yellow-green flowers s.t. reddish on outside, grouped at tip of axillary peduncle 3-5 cm; ovoid fruits 1-1.2 cm x 0.8-1 cm, conical top

Caesalpinaceae (= Fabaceae--Caesalpinioideae)

Capparaceae (now included in Brassicaceae)



Carica papaya 50155 (papaya)

records: widely planted in gardens and courtyards in Dogon country and farther south (JH)


(for Herniaria see Illecebraceae)

Polycarpaea corymbosa var. corymbosa 50156

records: Segou, Goundam, Gao, Bamako, Macina, Gossi (Boudet); Tupere, Segue (JH)

habitat: dry sand, rocks in sand, ferrugineous plateaus

notes: erect herb 20-50 cm, often ramified; opposite/verticillate linear leaves, sessile, 1-3 cm x 1-2 mm, usually glabrous; stems pubescent with short woolly white hairs; pure white flowers, s.t. tipped with red; sepals 3-3.5 mm long, pubescent; flowers in corymb, often widening horizontally but not bending back down

reference: Adventrop

Polycarpaea eriantha 50157

records: Bandiagara to Mopti, Bamako, Macina, Niono (Boudet); Hombori (JH)

habitat: dry sand

notes: much-branched herb 20-30 cm; opposite/verticillate linear filiform leaves, sessile, 1-3 cm x 1-2 mm, glabrous; young plant has rosette of leaves at base; stems covered by fine grey down; flowers silvery-white in small irregular panicles

Polycarpaea linearifolia 50158

records: Gao, Niono, Rharous, San, Koulikoro (Boudet)

habitat: sand, rocks

notes: erect herb 30-50 cm, leaves opposite/verticillate sessile linear leaves 1-3 cm x 1-2 mm; pubescent cylindrical stems; silver-white flowers in globular head 1-2 cm wide

Polycarpaea prostrata (see Polycarpon robbairea)

Polycarpon prostratum 50159

records: San, Djenne, Gourma Rharous (Boudet)

habitat: sandy-clayey

notes: prostrate herb, leaves opposite/verticillate, oblanceolate 1-2.5 cm x 5-8 mm, widest 2/3 of way up, very slender at base (no clear petiole); in upper part of flowering stem one leaf is full-sized and the opposite leaf is very small or absent with the peduncle emerging from the side of the small leaf; several longer leaves at major branching points of main stem; stem pubescent on side facing sun; white or more often bluish flowers, numerous in paniculate bracteate cymes

Polycarpon robbairea (syns Robbairea delineana [thus Boudet], ??Polycarpaea prostrata)

records: Gao (Boudet)

habitat: sand


Robbairea delileana (see Polycarpon robbairea)

Vaccaria hispanica (has several variants in N. Africa; in Boudet as V. pyramidata)

records: “signalé adventice à Diré près de Tombouctou par Chevalier” (Boudet)

Vaccaria pyramidata (see V. hispanica)


Loeseneriella (previously placed in Hippocrataceae)

Loeseneriella africana 50169

records: Timbuktu, Niafounke, Macina, Segou (Boudet); Kikara, Tupere, inselbergs near Dianwely (JH)

habitat: riverside, temporary pools (Boudet); inselbergs and their ravines (JH)

notes: woody liana, leaves opposite, shiny bright green oval leaf 5-8 cm x 3-5 cm, petiole 4-6 mm; lateral stems may twine in tendril form; green flowers in axillary panicle divided 2 to 5 times, first divisions at right angle; 3 obovate capsules each 3-5 cm x 2-3 cm; capsule divides in half, revealing winged seeds

ethnobotany: much-prized fibers for rope

Maytenus senegalensis 50161

records: Tasseguela, Timbuktu, Gao, Bamako (Boudet); Hombori, Boni area (JH)

habitat: sand, gravel

notes: bushy shrub 2-5 m, leaves alternate, straight axillary thorn 1-5 cm, often with two small leaves near tip, emerging at each axil on same side as and rising above leaf; small greenish-white flowers; small globular fruits, red at maturity


(Saharan/Mauritanian spp., not in Berhaut unless indicated)

Bassia muricata

records: Hamada Safia (Boudet); Western Sahara, Mauritania

habitat: sands

ref: Flore du Sahara; Ibis

Chenopodium murale (in Berhaut)

records: none (Boudet); Senegal: villages and disturbed areas (Berhaut)

notes: herb 25-50 cm; broad, heavily dentate leaves


Cornulaca monocantha

records: Araouane, Erg Chech (Boudet)

habitat: regs with coarse sands

ethnobotany: excellent camel fodder, also grazed by small livestock

ref: Ibis


Nucularia perrinii

records: Achheib, Hamada Safia (Boudet)

habitat: sandy, rocky

ethnobotany: good fodder for animals

ref: Ibis


Patellifolia patellaris

records: Agueraktem (Boudet)

habitat: rocky areas


Salsola baryosma (see S. imbricata)

Salsola imbricata (syn S. baryosma [thus Berhaut])

records: none (Boudet)

habitat: brackish areas (Berhaut)

notes: herb or sub-ligneous plant 30-60 cm

ref: Ibis

Salsola tetragona (see S. tetrandra)

Salsola tetrandra (syn S. tetragona)


Suaeda mollis (see S. vermiculata)

Suaeda monodiana (see S. vermiculata)

Suaeda vermiculata (syn S. monodiana, S. mollis)

records: Khnachiche none (Boudet [S. monodiana]); Senegal and Mauritania (Berhaut)

notes: annual or perennial herb in shrublike form 50 cm to 1 m

ref: Ibis

Traganum nudatum

records: none (Boudet); Western Sahara & Mauritania

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