Calotropis gigantea (L.) Aiton f.

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Calotropis gigantea

Photo: Christopher Hines
South of Luanda, Angola

Calotropis gigantea

Photo: Christopher Hines
South of Luanda, Angola

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Synonyms: Asclepias gigantea L.
Common names: Bowstring hemp (English) Calotrope (English) Giant milkweed (English) Giant rubber bush (English)
Status: Introduced
Shrub to 4 m tall; stems producing copious latex when broken. Leaves rounded or ovate, glaucous, waxy, thick, ± sessile; base clasping the stem. Flowers 2-3 cm across, borne in clusters of 3-15; petals white to pale lilac-blue, reflexed. Fruits inflated, grey-green, turning brown when mature, containing numerous seeds each with a tuft of long silky hairs.
Derivation of specific name: gigantea: huge, gigantic
Altitude range: Up to 100 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Native of Asia; introduced widely into other parts of the world
Mozambique distribution: N,M
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: Thursday 28 September 2017

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 816. (Includes a picture).

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 25.

Goyder, D.J., Gilbert, M.G. & Venter, H.J.T. (2020). Apocynaceae (Part 2) Flora Zambesiaca 7(2) Page 238.

Witt, A. & Luke, Q. (2017). Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa CAB International, UK. Page 296. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Calotropis gigantea:

External websites:

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

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: Calotropis gigantea., retrieved 29 November 2023

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