Baphia massaiensis Taub.
subsp. obovata (Schinz) Brummitt
var. obovata

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Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata

Drawing showing characteristics for Baphia massaiensis
Lusaka 1976; Patricia Bingham

Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata

Photo: Mike Bingham

Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata

Jul 1991
Photo: Mike Bingham

Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata

Sioma,cattle browsing isunde in fallow field
Oct 1993
Photo: Mike Bingham

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

Synonyms: Baphia obovata Schinz
Common names: Isunde (Lozi) Muntembwe (Ila)
Frequency: Widespread and common
Status: Native
Shrub or small tree up to 8 m high. Leaflet usually obovate, sometimes elliptic, with (5)6-10 major lateral veins on each side of the midrib, both surfaces pubescent when young, the upper usually glabrescent; petiole 3-13 mm long. Pedicels and buds with dense spreading hairs. Calyx 8-11 mm long, usually splitting into only 2 at apex, occasionally into 3. Standard 12x16 x 12-15 mm; wings 12-15 x 5-7 mm; keel petals 10-13 mm long. Ovary densely spreading hairy. (FZ)
Type location:
Notes: It is remarkable that this taxon, so widely distributed in Zambia has not been recorded in Malawi. Indeed the genus has yet to be recorded in that country. An important dry-season forage on the Kalahari Sands.
Derivation of specific name: massaiensis: of the Masai tribal area in Kenya, where the type specimen of the species was found.
obovata: obovate; referring to the leaf shape in this subspecies.
Habitat: Kalahari Sand, sandy soils derived from Forest Sandstone, and other sandy soils; thicket clearings and fallow land.
Altitude range: 380 - 1200 m
Flowering time:Oct - Jan
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): B,N,W,C,E,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Nw,Cb,N,Mc,E,C,Lk,S,W
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
Content last updated: Wednesday 23 August 2017

Brummitt, R.K. (2007). Tribe 2. SOPHOREAE Flora Zambesiaca 3(3) Pages 47 - 48.

Brummitt, R.K., Harder, D.K., Lewis, G.P., Lock, J.M., Polhill, R.M. & Verdcourt, B. (2007). Leguminosae Subfamily Papilionoideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(3) Pages 245 - 248.

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 284. As Baphia massaiensis obovata (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 359. (Includes a picture).

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Pages 230 - 231. as Baphia massaiensis (Includes a picture).

Drummond, R.B. (1972). A list of Rhodesian Legumes. Kirkia 8(2) Page 217.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 244. As Baphia massaiensis obovata

Fowler, D.G. (2007). Zambian Plants: Their Vernacular Names and Uses, Kew Publishing

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 385. (Includes a picture).

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 46.

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 70. (Includes a picture).

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 194 - 195. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 61.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 210.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 194 - 195. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata
Flora of Caprivi: Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata
Flora of Mozambique: Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata
Flora of Zimbabwe: Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Baphia massaiensis subsp. obovata var. obovata., retrieved 24 February 2024

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