Bridelia cathartica G. Bertol.
subsp. melanthesoides (Baill.) J. Léonard[Agg]

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Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides

Picture: Bart Wursten
Island 1

Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides

Picture: Bart Wursten

Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides

Picture: Bart Wursten
Island 2, Katombora: camp site

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

Synonyms: Bridelia melanthesoides (Baill.) Klotzsch
Pentameria melanthesoides Baill.
Common names:
Scrambling shrub or small tree with long somewhat zig-zag branches and leaves held in one plane. Flowers unisexual, usually on the same tree, greenish-yellow in small axillary clusters. Fruit obovoid to subspherical, reddish-purple to blackish when ripe. Two varieties and various forms are found in Zimbabwe and can be distinguished as follows:

1. Venation not prominent beneath; dry leaves green var. melanthesoides

1. Venation prominent; dry leaves yellow or brown var. lingelsheimii 2.

2. Veins pubescent beneath (later becoming hairless) forma fischeri

2. Veins completely hairless beneath forma niedenzui

Subsp. cathartica occurs in coastal southern Mozambique and South Africa.
Type location:
Derivation of specific name: cathartica: vomit inducing, referring to one of its uses in traditional medicine.
Altitude range: Up to 1500 m
Flowering time:Dec - Apr
Worldwide distribution: From Sudan to Namibia and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (different varieties and forms).
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): B,N,W,C,E,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Lp,E,Lk,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Abantis paradisea (Food plant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Wednesday 11 January 2017

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 408. As Bridelia cathartica (Includes a picture).

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Page 324.

Kamumvuri, G. (ed.) (2004). Plants of Zimbabwe Report No. 1 National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 36. as Bridelia cathartica

Radcliffe-Smith, A. (1996). Euphorbiaceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(4) Pages 15 - 18. (Includes a picture).

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 207.

Other sources of information about Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides
Flora of Caprivi: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides
Flora of Malawi: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides
Flora of Mozambique: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides
Flora of Zimbabwe: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides

External websites:

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

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: Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides., retrieved 5 February 2023

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