1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Brachystegia Benth.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & S. Africa.


    Leguminosae, J. B. Gillett, R. M. Polhill & B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1971

    Trees (but see note below)
    Leaves paripinnate, stipulate (see note below); leaflets sessile, very diverse in number, size and shape, normally opposite, in 2–72 pairs, usually furnished with highly variable, often obscure translucent dots
    Racemes simple or paniculate, usually terminal, rarely lateral on older branchlets
    Flowers ± zygomorphic, completely enclosed in bud by 2 opposite valvate bracteoles which persist during flowering
    Tepals 0 or 1–10(–11), much shorter than the bracteoles, free or with 2–3 partly united, imbricate, valvate or open in aestivation; either all sepaloid and grading in size and shape from broad to narrow, or variously differentiated into two whorls, or (in 1, B. spiciformis) minute to rudimentary or 0; outer whorl usually 4–6, relatively broad, subequal to very unequal, usually ciliate; inner whorl, when distinguishable, 1–3(–5), narrow, often non-ciliate
    Stamens usually 10, all fertile (abnormally 9 or 11), or (in 8, B. stipulata only) 13–18 all fertile (or sometimes, with staminodes, totalling ± 20), alternately long and short, free or shortly united, often obscurely diadelphous; filaments or tube continuous externally with the margin of the very short cupular or turbinate hypanthium; mouth of hypanthium with or without a disc formed of obvious or obscure internal glandular swellings
    Ovary oblong or naviculiform, stipitate; stipe shorter than or subequal to the ovary, inserted centrally or subcentrally in, and usually closely invested at the extreme base by (but free from) the shorter hypanthium; style long; stigma small, subcapitate; ovules (4–)5–10
    Pod flat, woody, soon glabrous, oblong or naviculiform, beaked at apex, dehiscing elastically, the valves becoming spirally twisted; adaxial suture with a flange-like wing on each side, sometimes also a longitudinal nerve near this suture on each valve
    Seeds compressed, without areoles, with a hard testa, subsessile.

    Legumes of the World. Edited by G. Lewis, B. Schrire, B. MacKinder & M. Lock. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (2005)

    msasa, meblo, naga, ariella, bomanga, mtundu, okwen
    Trees and shrubs (rarely suffrutices)
    Lowland tropical rain forest and seasonally dry forest, woodland, wooded grassland and bushland, often along rivers, margins of wetlands and on upland plateaus; a number of species form monodominant stands
    Africa (centred in Zambezian woodland [18 spp.]; Guinea-Congolian forest [6 spp. in WC and 1 sp. in W Africa] and 1 sp. in Zanzibar-Inhambane E Mozambique)
    Twenty three putative hybrids have been published among the Zambezian domain taxa, illustrating the problems traditionally encountered with delimiting species in Brachystegia (Hoyle in Brenan, 1967: 157-196). However, morphometric analyses by Chikuni (1998) revealed that there was little evidence of the phenotypic intermediacy distinguishing hybrids; rather the difficulty with species limits was due to inadequately defined states of highly variable characters; see taxonomic notes under Julbernardia

    Leguminosae, R.K. Brummitt, A.C. Chikuni, J.M. Lock & R.M. Polhill. Flora Zambesiaca 3:2. 2007

    Trees, shrubs or suffrutices producing annual shoots from a woody rootstock, 0.25–45 m tall, sometimes low-branching; trunk sometimes buttressed to 1.5 m high; bark deeply to shallowly fissured longitudinally and coarsely reticulate, or smooth, flaking in irregular to rectangular, thick or thin scales.
    Leaves paripinnate, 15–350 mm long; petioles 2–70 mm long including a 2–8 mm long pulvinus; rachis deeply or shallowly canaliculate above; leaflets in 2–72 pairs, sessile or with petiolules 3–7 mm long.
    Stipules intrapetiolar, free, shortly connate at base or partially to fully fused; persistent to early-caducous; lamina 2–45 × 0.2–10 mm; auricles 1–35 × 0.5–15 mm if present, lateral or basal, persistent or caducous independently of the stipules.
    Axillary dormant buds ovoid to globose or much flattened.
    Inflorescences of terminal and/or axillary panicles or racemes up to 150 mm long; bracts 2–6 × 1–5 mm. Flowers 3–15 × 2–10 mm; bracteoles 4–20 × 2–12 mm; perianth comprising greatly reduced sepals and rudimentary petals, or petals lacking altogether.
    Hypanthium present, shortly cupular or cylindrical at the base, turbinate above, up to 1.5 mm from base to point of insertion of sepals.
    Sepals 0–8, 1–8 × 0.5–3 mm, imbricate, valvate or widely spaced.
    Petals rudimentary, 0–6, 0.3–7 × 0.2–1.5, filiform.
    Stamens 10–18(20), connate at base for 0.5–7 mm, clearly exserted above the bracteoles, anthers dorsifixed.
    Ovary 2–10 × 1.5–3 mm, stipitate, stipe 1.5–5 mm long.
    Pods 45–300 × 15–80 mm, oblong to obovate, ventral flanges suberect, spreading, revolute or absent, epicarp smooth, endocarp dull to reddish brown, spongy around the seeds.
    Seeds up to 11 per pod, 12–30 × 10–25 mm, much flattened.
    Used for timber ( msasa, mtundu, okwen, bomanga, ariella, naga, meblo ), e.g., for construction, flooring, furniture, joinery and plywood; also used for fuelwood (firewood and charcoal), fibre (containers, cloth, mats and bark rope), human food (seeds), medicine, dyes, livestock fodder, bee plants, ornamentals and shade plants



    Native to:

    Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Repu, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Brachystegia Benth. appears in other Kew resources:

    First published in G.Bentham & J.D.Hooker, Gen. Pl. 1: 582 (1865)

    Accepted by

    • Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. MIM, Deurne.


    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • —F.T.A. 2: 305.
    Flora Zambesiaca
    • Burtt Davy & Hutchinson in Bull. Misc. Inform., Kew 1923: 129–163.
    • in Bentham & Hooker, Gen. Pl. 1: 582 (1865).
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Hoyle & White in F.F.N.R.: 101 (1962)
    • Hoyle in F.C.B. 3: 446 (1952)
    • Trans. Linn. Soc. 25: 311 (1866)
    • in G.P. 1: 582 (1865)


    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Legumes of the World Online