Psychotria mahonii C.H. Wright

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Psychotria mahonii

Photo: Bart Wursten
Stream crossing at boundary with Coutada 10, Coutada 12

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Synonyms: Grumilea punicea S. Moore
Common names: Large bird-berry (English)
Status: Native
Small or tree. Bark grey, rather smooth, sometimes corky. Leaves elliptic to obovate, up to 23 cm long, leathery, hairless or with hairs mainly beneath; hairtuft domatia distinct; margin entire, often rolled under; stipules obovate, 2-lobed at the apex. Flowers in terminal branched heads, about 5 mm in diameter, creamy-white or greenish-yellow, bearded in the throat, sweetly scented. Fruit globose, 5-6mm in diameter, yellow to red when ripe, with two stones.
Notes: This species is similar to P. capensis which can be distinguished by the simple, triangular-ovate stipules, generally hairless leaves and richer cream or yellow flowers.
It can be distinguished from Psychotria zombamontana by the inflorescences and fruits, which are held erectly above the leaves and are not pendent. Also the undersides of the more leathery leaves in P. mahonii are covered in rough hairs, while the leaves of P. zombamontana are thinner and hairless. P. mahonii generally grows into a much larger tree while P. zombamontana is an abundantly common understorey pioneer in secondary evergreen forest.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: Mainly in evergreen and riverine forest but also in rocky areas of Brachystegia woodland.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:Dec - Feb
Worldwide distribution: DRC, Rwanda, Uganda; Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mozambique distribution: N,MS
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: Saturday 29 July 2017

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 251.

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 905. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 46.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F. (1989). The flora and phytogeography of the evergreen forests of Malawi. I: Afromontane and mid-altitude forests; Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. 59(1/2) Page 22.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 277.

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 73.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 167.

Verdcourt, B. (1988). Rubiaceae, Part 1 Flora Zambesiaca 5(1) Pages 18 - 19.

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 99.

Other sources of information about Psychotria mahonii:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Psychotria mahonii
Flora of Zambia: Psychotria mahonii
Flora of Zimbabwe: Psychotria mahonii

External websites:

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

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: Psychotria mahonii., retrieved 17 April 2024

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