Brachystegia utilis Hutch. & Burtt Davy

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Brachystegia utilis

Drawing: Patricia Bingham

Brachystegia utilis

Drawing: Suzanne Carter

Brachystegia utilis

Lusaka SE 20km Jellis' farm; 1970.
Photo: Mike Bingham

Brachystegia utilis

Lusaka SE 20km Jellis' farm; 1970.
Photo: Mike Bingham

Brachystegia utilis

Miombo Woodland;
Lusaka West, Camilla's Miombo; Aug 2009.
Photo: Mike Bingham

Brachystegia utilis

Miombo Woodland;
Lusaka SE 20km Jellis' farm; Dec 2011.
Photo: Mike Bingham

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Common names: Kabungu (Lunda) Musaka (Bemba) Musamba (Kaonde) Musamba (Lamba) Musamba (Lenje) Musamba (Lunda)
Frequency: Locally common
Status: Native
Tree 7—12 m occasionally up to 20 m in height. Bark smooth at first, grey, roughish with age fracturing into small chunky pieces. Young branchlets with distinct brownish hairs. Dormant axillary buds globose. Leaves 5−13 cm long, rhachis slender, channelled; stipels elliptic, below each pair of leaflets. Leaflets usually pubescent in 5−10, up to 12, subequal pairs, middle pairs the largest, 2.5−6 × 0.8−1.8 cm, oblong-elliptic or lanceolate; apex acute, retuse, round, or emarginate; base obliquely rounded; midvein central or subcentral. Flowers in terminal panicles; sepals green, hairy; petals absent. Pods woody, flat, hairless, 10 × 3 cm.
Type location:
Malawi, Mulanje
Derivation of specific name: utilis: useful, possibly referring to the many uses of the bark.
Habitat: Miombo woodland on rocky ridges, hill slopes and flat sandy areas.
Altitude range: 300 - 1800 m
Flowering time:Sep - Oct
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N,W,C
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Nw,Cb,Lp,Mc,C,Lk
Growth form(s): Tree.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Wednesday 26 June 2013

Brummitt, R.K., Chikuni, A.C., Lock, J.M. & Polhill, R.M. (2007). Leguminosae Subfamily Caesalpinioideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(2) Pages 86 - 112. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 121.

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 245. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 10.

Drummond, R.B. (1972). A list of Rhodesian Legumes. Kirkia 8(2) Page 212.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 243.

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 43.

Smith, P. & Allen, Q. (2004). Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of the Miombo Woodlands Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew ISBN 1 84246 073 0 Pages 112 - 113. (Includes a picture).

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Pages 90 - 91.

Other sources of information about Brachystegia utilis:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Brachystegia utilis
Flora of Mozambique: Brachystegia utilis
Flora of Zimbabwe: Brachystegia utilis

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Brachystegia utilis
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Brachystegia utilis
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Brachystegia utilis
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Brachystegia utilis
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Brachystegia utilis
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Brachystegia utilis
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Brachystegia utilis
iNaturalist: Brachystegia utilis
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Brachystegia utilis
JSTOR Plant Science: Brachystegia utilis
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Brachystegia utilis
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Brachystegia utilis
Plants of the World Online: Brachystegia utilis
Tropicos: Brachystegia utilis
Wikipedia: Brachystegia utilis

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: Brachystegia utilis., retrieved 27 January 2023

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