DixPix Photographs

     

EASTERN AFRICA

 
     
  FLORA--  the LAMIALES  

 

Lamiales is a botanical Order, encompassing about 20 Families, including the Mint Family, Lamiaceae, for which it is named.  Others of importance here are the Acanthus Family, Acanthaceae and the Trumpet-creeper Family, Bignoniaceae.  Some other families make lesser contributions to the page.  We start with the Acanthaceae, which boasts about 2500 species, mainly herbs and mainly tropical.

The Sectors for Africa are:-   Critters    Birds     Flora      and   Life/overview

 

From the namesake genus, this is Acanthus ueleensis of the central areas of Africa.  Named for the Uele River of the Congo but here at KEW gardens in London. Click to see big picture (459x600 pixels; 129 KB)
Blepharis linariifolia is a species from the central latitudes of Africa.  This one is a weed from near Dodoma, Tanzania. Click to see big picture (515x600 pixels; 139 KB)
It is known as the Tropical Giant Salvia, but it isn't even in the same family as the salvias. This is Brillantaisia nyanzarum, content to be an acanthus native to eastern Africa.  KEW botanical gardens, London. Click to see big picture (800x572 pixels; 170 KB)
A rather poor photo of Dicliptera clinopodia near Liparamba in southern Tanzania. It is native to southeastern Africa. Click to see big picture (640x574 pixels; 140 KB)

This is the white flower form of Hygrophila auriculata, also defined as H. schulli. It is known as Marsh Barbel, and native to Africa and Asia.  Its ashes have applications in folk medicine.  Here as a weed near Dodoma, Tanzania.

 

Click to see big picture (579x600 pixels; 154 KB)
And here is the more usual purple-flowered version of Mash Barbel, again in Tanzania near the town of Mitimoni. Click to see big picture (471x600 pixels; 122 KB)
Hypoestes forskaolii. This is the White Ribbon bush, found though much of sub-saharan Africa, appreciated in folk medicine and as a source of dyes. Photo from the Kapani River, Malawi. Click to see big picture (493x600 pixels; 118 KB)
Thunbergia alata is a world traveler under names such as Black-eye Susan. Here it is in its native form near the Tanzania--Mozambique border. Click to see big picture (590x600 pixels; 141 KB)
Near its source, a species is often more variable than in the international garden distribution.  Here in Malawi is a lighter version of Thunbergia alata, and it is thought of more as a "brown-eyed vine". Click to see big picture (764x600 pixels; 205 KB)
Thunbergia erecta is a vine which has become very widespread from its origin in Africa.  In fact this photo is from Sarawak in Borneo. Click to see big picture (796x600 pixels; 174 KB)
A side view of Thunbergia erecta, which for some reason has become known as the Bush Clock Vine. Click to see big picture (704x600 pixels; 165 KB)
The vivid Orange Clockwork Vine (Thunbergia gregoryi) is another world traveler from Eastern Africa.  A garden and groundcover favorite, here at the San Diego Botanical Gardens. Click to see big picture (746x600 pixels; 126 KB)

Bignoniaceae is known as the Trumpet Creeper Family, and while some are vines it is the trumpet-like flower which better defines the species.  This is mainly a tropical family of about 850 species, and mainly Neotropical, but there are several species at home in eastern Africa.

 
The Flame Tree, Spathodea campanulata is likely Africa's most famous export from the Bignoniaceae. It is pantropical and widely naturalized. Here is a close-up of a blossom. Click to see big picture (733x600 pixels; 142 KB)
The Flame Tree goes by many names, African Tulip Tree being one. Here in the Swahili Language of eastern Africa it is known as Kibobakasi or as Nandi. It has several medicinal applications in folk lore, but has largely been planted for its flowers. Click to see big picture (701x600 pixels; 175 KB)
A full view of a Flame Tree, flowering in a field in Colombia, a tribute to its wide distribution in the tropics. Click to see big picture (800x600 pixels; 191 KB)
Another invasive, the high-climbing Flame Vine, Prostegia venusta.  It really belongs in the southern Neotropics, but has been planted, naturalized and regretted through much of the Tropics.   Here it is smothering a tree near Mblinga, Tanzania. Click to see big picture (664x600 pixels; 223 KB)
It is known as the Cape Honeysuckle, and it is native to southern and southeastern Africa.  Tecoma capensis, however, is more of a shrub than a vine like other honeysuckles, and is now widespread in the warmer parts of planet Earth.  Photo from Arusha, perhaps planted. Click to see big picture (627x600 pixels; 130 KB)
Once again we turn to the highlands of Colombia for an example of the widely exported Cape Honeysuckle. Click to see big picture (666x600 pixels; 109 KB)
Its sort of pretty, but Tecoma stans is really just a large, pantropical weed, with the ability to form invasive thickets.  It is good fodder and beloved of insects and hummingbirds, but I am tired of meeting it everywhere I go.   Photo from Malawi. Click to see big picture (673x600 pixels; 120 KB)
Podranea brycei goes by names such as the Zimbabwe Creeper and the Port St. John Creeper. It is a vine that has traveled far from its origin in eastern Africa. Photo from near the Chimwadzulu ruby mine in Malawi. Click to see big picture (720x441 pixels; 95 KB)
This one is a head-turner.  It is the Sausage Tree, here near the airport in Lilongwe, Malawi.  Kigelia pinnata (or africana) is appreciated for a huge number of traditional uses from beer to a cure for headaches and syphilis. Click to see big picture (581x600 pixels; 183 KB)
And this is the flower of the Sausage Tree, worthy in its own right. Click to see big picture (442x600 pixels; 100 KB)

The Mint Family, Lamiaceae,  fields roughly 7500 species, several of which are cultivated for either their flowers or for their use as condiments and flavorings.  Many species have a strong odor, and most have square stems.

 

 
Leonotis nepetifolia and its close relatives are african species which have traveled , due mainly to the euphoric feeling they induce when smoked.  Known as Lion's Tail or Lion's Ear in English, and here (east of Dodoma), it would be called Klipp Dagga. Click to see big picture (776x600 pixels; 128 KB)
A plant of many names, including Forskohlii and Blue Spur FlowerPlectranthus barbatus is pantropical from Africa, mainly spread for its varied medicinal folk applications and as the source of forskolin now sold as a fat reduction supplement of dubious value.  An attractive flower in its own right, here in the Chimwadzulu area of Malawi. Click to see big picture (388x600 pixels; 88 KB)
And here, near the tourist town of Arusha in Tanzania, is another example of Plectranthus barbatus with a better look at the leaves.  In eastern Africa it is best known as Kikuyu Toilet Paper, relating to yet another use of these leaves. Click to see big picture (322x600 pixels; 78 KB)
Clerodendron thomsoniae may have an African origin, but is now found mainly in gardens, in this case the botanical one in Denver. Bleeding Heart Vine and Glory Bower or two of its most common names. Click to see big picture (720x496 pixels; 103 KB)
It is something between garden flower and a weed. Salvia coccinea likely stared out in Mexico, but between cultivation and an invasive nature, it is now very widespread. Photo from near Arusha, Tanzania.  It has many names, of which Scarlet Sage and Blood Sage are common. Click to see big picture (415x600 pixels; 77 KB)
Leucas milanjiana is a hairy little weed found through much of eastern Africa, here near Dodoma, Tanzania.  It does not seem to have (or deserve) a common name. Click to see big picture (522x600 pixels; 98 KB)
Leucas martinensis is a low but useful weed, which is native to the neotropics, but pantropical and reported mainly from Africa.  It has a variety of applications in folk medicine and is used as a tea.  It is also burned to keep away mosquitoes.  Its most common name is Whitewort.  Photo from near Mbinga, Tanzania. Click to see big picture (499x600 pixels; 108 KB)
Hoslundia opposita is an aromatic shrub of sub-sahan Africa, known as Orange Birdberry.  Here are the flowers near Arusha. Click to see big picture (798x600 pixels; 173 KB)
And here are the unusual fruit for which the Orange Birdberry Bush is named.  Note the square stem. Click to see big picture (499x600 pixels; 121 KB)
Oleaceae is the Olive Family, a small one but with several well known flowers to its credit.  This is Jasminum angulare or South African Jasmine, a vine-like species from southeastern Africa, now widely planted for its fragrance and flowers.   KEW Gardens, London. Click to see big picture (556x600 pixels; 92 KB)
The Sesame Family, Pedaliaceae is a small one, but here is Sesamum indicum, the source of sesame seeds and oil.  Although its name refers to India, it more likely originated in Africa and was one of the earliest oil-seed crops.  Now pantropical.  Photo from near the Tanzania--Mozambique border. Click to see big picture (785x600 pixels; 150 KB)
Sesamum calycinum seems to be a variable species found in the southern half of Africa, here near Songea in Tanzania.  The seeds are edible and gathered, although seldom cultivated. Click to see big picture (422x600 pixels; 70 KB)
Another variety of Sesamum calycinum from the Liparamba area. Click to see big picture (487x600 pixels; 79 KB)
Ceratotheca triloba is known as the South African Foxglove or False Foxglove. It is native to southeastern Africa, here a weed near Mbinga, Tanzania.
The Verbena Family, Verbenaceae, has been trimmed down to about 1200 species, mainly tropical and mainly with clustered flowers.  This is Lantana camara, handsome enough to be invited in gardens and induce cultivars, but now a pantropical weed.   Photo from the Chimwadzulu area of Malawi, where it is known as Tickberry. Click to see big picture (775x600 pixels; 183 KB)
Another invasive from the Neotropics is Verbena bonariensis known as the Purple Top Vervain. It is not clear why this weed has spread so far, but here it is in Tanzania. Click to see big picture (477x600 pixels; 100 KB)
Fragrant and medicinal, Lippia javanica has traveled from its native eastern Africa, although naming it for Java is a bit far fetched.  In English it goes by terms such as Fever Tea and Lemon Bush and its essential oil is sold widely.  Here near Mbeya, Tanzania, it would likely be called Musukudu. Click to see big picture (465x600 pixels; 112 KB)
Nemesia caerulea has been left in the greatly reduced Scrophulariaceae or Figwort Family.  It originated in South Africa, but has become a garden favorite with several cultivars and colors.  Names include Mauve Nemesia and Bluebird.  University of B.C. Botanical Gardens. Click to see big picture (598x600 pixels; 123 KB)
From the same garden and native to the same area, this is Nemesia fruticans, a white version.  Frankly, the genus has been so messed up with cultivars that it is hard to pin species down. Click to see big picture (347x500 pixels; 92 KB)
Same family, same garden, same South African origin and same problem with cultivars, this is Phygelius aequalis, known as the Yellow Cape Fuchsia, although no relation to fuchsias. Click to see big picture (345x600 pixels; 89 KB)
A closer look at the attractive flower of the Yellow Cape Fuchsia.  It also comes in pink. Click to see big picture (622x600 pixels; 132 KB)
Gomphostigma virgatum is another South African which has traveled widely under names such as River Star and Otterbush.  It is of the Buddlejaceae Family.   Jardin Real Botanico, Madrid. Click to see big picture (758x600 pixels; 132 KB)
A roadside shrub in Malawi proves to be Sopubia mannii of the Orobanchaceae Family, which suggests that it may be a root parasite.  It ranges through much of sub-saharan Africa.