Vitex payos (Lour.) Merr.

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Vitex payos

Photo: Bart Wursten
Maforga Mission, Gondola.

Vitex payos

Photo: Bart Wursten
Maforga Mission, Gondola.

Vitex payos

Photo: Bart Wursten
Bunga Camp, base of Mt Bunga, northwestern Gorongosa National Park.

Vitex payos

Photo: Bart Wursten
Bunga Camp, base of Mt Bunga, northwestern Gorongosa National Park.

Vitex payos

Photo: Bart Wursten
Chironde area, Coutada 12, Cheringoma

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Synonyms: Vitex eylesii S. Moore
Vitex hildebrandtii Vatke
Common names: Chocolate berry (English)
Status: Native
Shrub or small tree. Bark distinctive, grey-brown, deeply fissured vertically. Leaves opposite, digitately compound, usually 5-foliolate, densely covered with hairs, bright green above, pale yellowish beneath. Flowers in small axillary heads, white with a deep mauve centre and lower lip. Fruit fleshy, shiny black, ovoid to subspherical, cupped in the persistent calyx.
Derivation of specific name: payos: uncertain. It has been suggested that it refers to the Payosi River, a small tributary of the Zambezi, where the type may have been collected.
Habitat: In open woodland and wooded grassland, particularly on rocky slopes.
Altitude range: 600 - 1590 m
Flowering time:Nov - Feb
Worldwide distribution: East Africa southwards to Zimbabwe and Mozambique
Mozambique distribution: N,Z,T,MS,GI
Growth form(s): Tree, 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: Wednesday 20 December 2017

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 857. As var. payos and var. glabrescens (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 58.

Coates Palgrave, K. et al. (1956). Trees of Central Africa National Publications Trust, Salisbury. Pages 430 - 433. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, M. (1989). Guide to the trees and shrubs of the Mukuvisi Woodlands ?publisher. Page 51.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 272.

Drummond, R.B. (1981). Common Trees of the Central Watershed Woodlands of Zimbabwe. Natural Resources Board, Harare. Pages 198 - 199. (Includes a picture).

Fernandes, R. (2005). Lamiaceae (subfamilies: Viticoideae and Ajugoideae) Flora Zambesiaca 8(7) Pages 86 - 87.

Kamumvuri, G. (ed.) (2004). Plants of Zimbabwe Report No. 1 National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Pages 8 - 9. (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 57.

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 73. As Vitex hildebrandtii

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 216.

Other sources of information about Vitex payos:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Vitex payos
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Vitex payos
Flora of Malawi: Vitex payos
Flora of Zambia: Vitex payos
Flora of Zimbabwe: Vitex payos

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Mozambique: Species information: Vitex payos., retrieved 18 May 2024

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