Spermacoce chaetocephala DC.

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Spermacoce chaetocephala

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near Inhala Ranger Camp, Gorongosa National Park, Muanza

Spermacoce chaetocephala

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near Inhala Ranger Camp, Gorongosa National Park, Muanza

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Synonyms: Borreria chaetocephala (DC.) Hepper
Borreria compacta (Hiern) K. Schum.
Spermacoce compacta Hiern
Spermacoce hebecarpa Hochst. ex A.Rich. var. major Hiern
Spermacoce kotschyana Oliv.
Common names:
Status: Native
Erect mostly sparsely branched annual herb 10–60 cm tall, stems 4-angled, often reddish or pinkish, hairy below the nodes. Leaves linear-lanceolate, 2.5–6 cm long, pubescent or more or less scabrid above with white hairs and with longer white hairs beneath, particularly on the broadened base; stipules with a basal part 1–2 mm long, hairy, with 7 setae up to 1.5 cm long. Flowers congested into axillary heads 0.5–2 cm wide, usually made up of normal axillary clusters together with those at the nodes of much reduced axillary shoots, the whole inflorescence supported by numerous leaves and also with leaves emerging from its centre; bracteoles very numerous, reddish-brown, 3 mm long. Calyx tube 1.4 mm long; lobes 4, linear-lanceolate or slightly spathulate, 1–2 mm long, scabrid on the margins. Corolla white or pale mauve; tube 1.3 mm long; lobes ovate-elliptic, 0.8 mm long. Capsule oblong-ellipsoid, 2.5 mm long, hairy at the apex.
Notes: This species is somewhat similar to Spermacoce natalensis which generally is a less robust herb with smaller inflorescences usually one-sided and mostly subtended by a single pair of leaves (rarely 2 pairs in the terminal inflorescence).
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: Bushland, woodland and mixed woodland/grassland, sometimes on roadsides.
Altitude range: 200 - 1170 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Senegal, Mali, northern Nigeria, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mozambique distribution: N,T
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: Wednesday 13 September 2023

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 74.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 92.

Verdcourt, B. (1988). Rubiaceae, Part 1 Flora Zambesiaca 5(1) Pages 174 - 175. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Spermacoce chaetocephala:

Our websites:

Flora of Zambia: Spermacoce chaetocephala
Flora of Zimbabwe: Spermacoce chaetocephala

External websites:

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

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: Spermacoce chaetocephala.
https://www.mozambiqueflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=156730, retrieved 5 December 2023

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