Mesosphaerum suaveolens (L.) Kuntze

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Mesosphaerum suaveolens

Photo: Petra Ballings
B8 to Ngoma, Bukalo

Mesosphaerum suaveolens

Photo: Bart Wursten
B8 to Ngoma, Bukalo

Mesosphaerum suaveolens

Photo: Bart Wursten
B8 to Ngoma, Bukalo

Mesosphaerum suaveolens

Photo: Bart Wursten
B8 to Ngoma, Bukalo

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

Synonyms: Ballota suaveolens L.
Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit.
Common names: Pignut (English) Spikenard (English)
Frequency: Probably still rare
Status: Introduced
Erect, strongly aromatic branched annual or short-lived perennial herb up to 3 m tall. Stems 4-angled, velvety with longer hairs and gland dots. Leaves opposite, ovate, 2.5-10 cm long, cordate at the base, velvety on both sides, margin toothed; petiole 1-7 cm long. Young leaves often purple tinged, particularly on the margin. Flowers axillary pedunculate clusters. Calyx with 5 spine-like teeth, often dark purple, glandular. Corolla 2-lipped, mauve with dark purple lines at the base of the broad 2-lobed upper lip.
Notes: The specimen in the photographs likely represents a first record for the Caprivi. A very unusual record since this alien species is in our region so far only known from Mozambique where it has rapidly become a very common weed of disturbed places and only very sporadically from eastern and northern Zimbabwe.
Derivation of specific name: suaveolens: sweet-scented.
Habitat: Along roadsides, in disturbed areas or as a weed of abandoned cultivation.
Flowering time:All year
Worldwide distribution: Native to Central America. Introduced in many tropical areas of the world
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: Tuesday 27 February 2018

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 840. (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 55.

Paton, A.J. et al. (2013). Lamiaceae Flora Zambesiaca 8(8) Pages 106 - 108.

Other sources of information about Mesosphaerum suaveolens:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Mesosphaerum suaveolens
Flora of Zimbabwe: Mesosphaerum suaveolens

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Mesosphaerum suaveolens
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Mesosphaerum suaveolens
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Mesosphaerum suaveolens
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Mesosphaerum suaveolens
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Mesosphaerum suaveolens
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Mesosphaerum suaveolens
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Mesosphaerum suaveolens
iNaturalist: Mesosphaerum suaveolens
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Mesosphaerum suaveolens
JSTOR Plant Science: Mesosphaerum suaveolens
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Mesosphaerum suaveolens
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Mesosphaerum suaveolens
Plants of the World Online: Mesosphaerum suaveolens
Tropicos: Mesosphaerum suaveolens
Wikipedia: Mesosphaerum suaveolens

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-22

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2022). Flora of Caprivi: Species information: Mesosphaerum suaveolens., retrieved 27 November 2022

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