Maerua prittwitzii Gilg & Gilg-Ben.

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Maerua prittwitzii

Picture: Bart Wursten
By road from Sinamatella to Mandavu Dam, Hwange NP

Maerua prittwitzii

Picture: Bart Wursten
By road from Sinamatella to Mandavu Dam, Hwange NP

Maerua prittwitzii

Picture: Bart Wursten
By road from Sinamatella to Mandavu Dam, Hwange NP

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Maerua rhodesiana Wild
Common names:
Status: Native
Suffrutex, shrub or small tree up to c. 6 m tall. Bark dark grey. Leaves mostly trifoliolate with upper leaves simple; leaflets broadly elliptic to ovate, up to 12 × 6 cm, terminal leaflet usually twice as long as lateral leaflets, greyish-green with sunken veins above, veins prominent below; apex with a hair-like tip; margin entire; petiole up to 4 cm long. Flowers in short dense terminal racemes; sepals green, hairy on the outside; petals present, white; stamens c. 30, c. 2 cm long. Fruit slightly ovoid, c. 2.2 cm in diameter, strongly knobbly and finely woolly, pale brown.
Type location:
Notes: Although consistently described as a shrub or small tree in literature many records known from Zimbabwe show this plant as a low growing suffrutex, often less than 50 cm tall with mostly simple leaves.
Derivation of specific name: prittwitzii: named after Georg von Prittwitz und Gaffron (1861-1936), who studied geography, geology, botany, and mineralogy and participated in exploration of German East Africa in 1893-1894.
Habitat: In hot and dry woodland or in miombo woodland but only on termite mounds.
Altitude range: Up to 1200 m
Flowering time:Oct - Dec
Worldwide distribution: Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): C,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): C,Lk,S
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 235.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 238.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 32.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 38.

Wild, H. (1960). Capparaceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(1) Pages 220 - 221. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Maerua prittwitzii:

Our websites:

Flora of Zimbabwe: Maerua prittwitzii

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Maerua prittwitzii
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Maerua prittwitzii
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Maerua prittwitzii
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Maerua prittwitzii
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Maerua prittwitzii
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Maerua prittwitzii
JSTOR Plant Science: Maerua prittwitzii
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Maerua prittwitzii
Plants of the World Online: Maerua prittwitzii
Tropicos: Maerua prittwitzii
Wikipedia: Maerua prittwitzii

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-23

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2023). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Maerua prittwitzii., retrieved 11 December 2023

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