Alternanthera sessilis (L.) DC.

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Alternanthera sessilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along road 4, Lake Urema Floodplain Edge, Gorongosa National Park.

Alternanthera sessilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along road 4, Lake Urema Floodplain Edge, Gorongosa National Park.

Alternanthera sessilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along road 4, Lake Urema Floodplain Edge, Gorongosa National Park.

Alternanthera sessilis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Along road from Chironde Camp to Mungari Airstrip, Coutada 12

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Synonyms: Alternanthera repens Gmel.
Gomphrena sessilis L.
Illecebrum sessile (L.) L.
Common names:
Status: Possibly native
Perennial, sometimes annual, prostrate herb rooting at the nodes. It may occasionally be a floating or emergent aquatic. Stems greenish, pink to purplish, ribbed, up to 1 m, mostly glabrous except for tufts of white hairs in the branch and leaf axils. Young stems with a line of hairs down each side. Leaves opposite, entire, very variable in shape, linear-lanceolate to obovate-spathulate. Inflorescences sessile, axillary, often in clusters, whitish.
Notes: Similar to Alternanthera nodiflora but Alternanthera sessilis has a dark fruit which is almost as long as or slightly exceeding the 1.5-2.5 mm tepals. A. nodiflora has a yellowish ripe fruit only about half the length of the 3-4 mm long tepals.
Derivation of specific name: sessilis: without a stalk (probably referring to the inflorescences)
Habitat: In or near water in floodplains, pans, rivers and seasonally waterlogged roadside depressions.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in the tropics and subtropics of both the Old and New World and it is possibly native.
Mozambique distribution: N,Z,T,MS,GI
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Sunday 23 July 2017

Ellery, K. & W. (1997). Plants of the Okavango Delta, a Field Guide Tsaro Publishers, Durban, South Africa Page 156. (Includes a picture).

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 335. (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 20.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 20.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 20.

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 195.

Townsend, C.C. (1988). Amaranthaceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(1) Pages 130 - 131.

Other sources of information about Alternanthera sessilis:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Alternanthera sessilis
Flora of Caprivi: Alternanthera sessilis
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Alternanthera sessilis
Flora of Malawi: Alternanthera sessilis
Flora of Zambia: Alternanthera sessilis
Flora of Zimbabwe: Alternanthera sessilis

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Mozambique: Species information: Alternanthera sessilis., retrieved 8 December 2023

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