Azima tetracantha Lam.

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Azima tetracantha

Photo: Bart Wursten
Roadside near Casa Banana, Sofala.

Azima tetracantha

Photo: Bart Wursten
Base of Mt Bunga, Gorongosa National Park.

Azima tetracantha

Photo: Bart Wursten
Base of Mt Bunga, Gorongosa National Park.

Azima tetracantha

Photo: Bart Wursten
Base of Mt Bunga, Gorongosa National Park.

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

Common names: Needle bush (English)
Status: Native
Spiny scrambling shrub. Spines often in whorls of 4; branches 4-angled. Leaves elliptic to oblong, leathery, sharp-tipped at the apex. Flowers in axillary catkin-like inflorescences, greenish, sometimes flushed pink; sexes separate on different trees. Fruit thinly fleshy subspherical with a pointed tip, yellowish to white when ripe.
Derivation of specific name: tetracantha: with 4 spines.
Habitat: In hot, dry riverine or coastal scrub, particularly on alluvial or saline soils.
Altitude range: Up to 1200 m
Flowering time:Sep - Mar
Worldwide distribution: Widespread from Somalia, through East and Central Africa to Namibia and South Africa. Also in Madagascar, Aldabara, Comoro islands and from Arabia to India and Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Mozambique distribution: T,MS,GI,M
Growth form(s): 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: Friday 20 April 2012

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 773. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 8.

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Page 921.

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 107.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 267.

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 75.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 95.

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 536 - 537. (Includes a picture).

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 29.

Vickery, A.R. (1983). Salvadoraceae Flora Zambesiaca 7(1) Pages 375 - 376. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Azima tetracantha:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Azima tetracantha
Flora of Malawi: Azima tetracantha
Flora of Zambia: Azima tetracantha
Flora of Zimbabwe: Azima tetracantha

External websites:

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

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: Azima tetracantha., retrieved 7 December 2023

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