Strychnos xantha Leeuwenberg

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Strychnos xantha

Picture: Mark Hyde
Suni South Trail, Catapu, Mozambqiue

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Common names:
Status: Native
Shrub or small tree or a climbing shrub or liane, rarely with paired curled woody tendrils.Bark slightly rough, grey or blackish; branches sometimes yellowish, spotted but not with lenticels. Leaves more or less narrowly elliptic or ovate, 4-11 cm long, 2-3 x as long as wide, apex pointed into a drip tip, hairless and stiffly leathery; 1-2 pairs of secondary veins from near the base curving along the margin; tertiary veining reticulate, conspicuous and prominent in dry leaves which turn yellow; petiole 5-8 mm long, hairless. Inflorescences axillary and sometimes also terminal, congested and few-flowered, up to 2.5 cm long, much shorter than the leaves. Corolla white, hairless outside but densely hairy in the throat and inside of the lobes; lobes oblong, up to 3.5 mm long, recurved. Stamens exserted. Fruit ellipsoid up to 20 mm long, pale green with paler spot, eventually turning yellow or orange, often obliquely pedicellate, 1-2-seeded.
Type location:
Zambia, Kitwe
Notes: This species is quite similar to S.usambarensis which may occur in similar habitats. Both species may become climbers rarely with curled woody tendrils. In S. usambarensis these are solitary while in S. xantha they are paired.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: In riverine thickets and sand forest.
Altitude range: Up to 1800 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Eastern DRC, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N,W
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Nw,Cb,Lp,N
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status: Lower Risk - least concern
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 778. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 931.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 113.

Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. (1983). Loganiaceae (inc. Buddlejaceae) Flora Zambesiaca 7(1) Page 374.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 100.

Other sources of information about Strychnos xantha:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Strychnos xantha

External websites:

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

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: Strychnos xantha., retrieved 1 March 2024

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