1. Family: Santalaceae R.Br.
    1. Genus: Thesium L.
      1. Thesium unyikense Engl.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is W. Central Kenya to S. Tropical Africa.

    [FZ]

    Flora Zambesiaca. Vol. 9, Part 3. Polygonaceae-Myriaceae. Pope GV, Polhill RM, Martins ES. 2006.

    Type
    Type from Tanzania (Mbeya Distr.).
    Habit
    Perennial herb drying grey-green, with a woody caudex c. 20–40 mm in diameter crowned with very many short closely scaly shoots that elongate into stems up to 400 mm long (may flower at c. 80 mm when shooting after fire), 1.25–2.5(4) mm diameter at base, erect or decumbent, shallowly ribbed by decurrent scale leaves, ribs often minutely pustulate, soon fastigiately branched, branches irregularly cymose, ascending at angle of c. 45°, seldom more than 50 mm long Perennial herb drying grey-green, with a woody caudex c. 20–40 mm in diameter crowned with very many short closely scaly shoots that elongate into stems up to 400 mm long (may flower at c. 80 mm when shooting after fire), 1.25–2.5(4) mm diameter at base, erect or decumbent, shallowly ribbed by decurrent scale leaves, ribs often minutely pustulate, soon fastigiately branched, branches irregularly cymose, ascending at angle of c. 45°, seldom more than 50 mm long.
    Leaves
    Leaves all reduced to scales, those at extreme base of stem up to 3 mm long, those subtending branches 1.5–6 × 0.8–1.6 mm, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, cuspidate, thick-textured, margins membranous, ciliolate Leaves all reduced to scales, those at extreme base of stem up to 3 mm long, those subtending branches 1.5–6 × 0.8–1.6 mm, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, cuspidate, thick-textured, margins membranous, ciliolate.
    Flowers
    Flowers initially solitary at tips of nude peduncles c. 4–30 mm long (measured from axil of bract to first flower), often 2 peduncles from 1 axil, later overtopped by 1 or occasionally 2 branches arising immediately or shortly below flower, branch either nude and terminating in a flower, or bracteate, terminating in a flower and with a floral bud in the axil of each bract; this branching may be repeated again Flowers initially solitary at tips of nude peduncles c. 4–30 mm long (measured from axil of bract to first flower), often 2 peduncles from 1 axil, later overtopped by 1 or occasionally 2 branches arising immediately or shortly below flower, branch either nude and terminating in a flower, or bracteate, terminating in a flower and with a floral bud in the axil of each bract; this branching may be repeated again.
    Bracts
    Bracts c. 5 forming an involucre below the flower, 1–2 × 0.5–1 mm, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, acuminate to cuspidate, margins ciliolate Bracts c. 5 forming an involucre below the flower, 1–2 × 0.5–1 mm, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, acuminate to cuspidate, margins ciliolate.
    Pedicel
    Pedicels wanting Pedicels wanting.
    Perianth
    Perianth white to greenish-yellow; tube (0.6)0.8–1.2 mm long, external glands ellipsoid, whitish; lobes 1–1.8 × 0.5–0.8 mm, oblong-lanceolate, obtuse, hood 0.25–0.3 mm long, margins inflexed, ± erose Perianth white to greenish-yellow; tube (0.6)0.8–1.2 mm long, external glands ellipsoid, whitish; lobes 1–1.8 × 0.5–0.8 mm, oblong-lanceolate, obtuse, hood 0.25–0.3 mm long, margins inflexed, ± erose.
    Style
    Style 1–2 mm long; stigma reaching nearly to top of perianth lobes
    Ecology
    Grassland, woodland or scrub, on the margins of dambos or on drier ground; 950–2150 m.
    Note
    See also note under T. bequaertii (below). Plants of T. unyikense dry grey-green. Frequently every branch from the main stem is a lax, irregular, often monochasial 2–5-flowered cyme, the peduncles stiff, ebracteate and sharply ascending. Sometimes a branch of definite growth (either one arising directly from the main stem or one overtopping the first flower in a cyme) may be bracteate; a bud then develops in the axil of each bract and possibly always grows out into a nude peduncle terminating in a flower. The branching pattern is complicated and difficult to interpret from herbarium specimens embracing plants at different stages of growth.
    Distribution
    ZAM N, ZAM W, ZAM C, ZAM S, ZIM N, MAL N Zambia MOZ T Mozambique Malawi Zimbabwe Also in Tanzania and possibly Angola (T. tetragonum A.W. Hill, 1910, is almost certainly conspecific).
    Stamens
    Stamens inserted at base of perianth lobes; filaments 0.25–0.5 mm long, hidden by anthers; anthers 0.5–0.8 mm long. Stamens inserted at base of perianth lobes; filaments 0.25–0.5 mm long, hidden by anthers; anthers 0.5–0.8 mm long
    Pistil
    Style 1–2 mm long; stigma reaching nearly to top of perianth lobes.
    Fruits
    Fruit 2.5–3 × 2.5–2.75 mm, pale buff to palest brown, strongly ribbed and reticulate. Fruit 2.5–3 × 2.5–2.75 mm, pale buff to palest brown, strongly ribbed and reticulate.
    [FTEA]

    Santalaceae, P.M. Polhill, B.A., Ph.D., F.L.S. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2005

    Habit
    Perennial herb; rootstock woody, thickly disk-shaped, 2–4 cm across, crowned with very many short closely scaly vegetative buds that elongate into stems; buds 3–5 mm long, with brown triangular scales 1–2 mm long; stems grey-green, numerous, erect or decumbent, 5–40 cm tall, soon fastigiately branched, branches irregularly cymose, ascending at angle of ± 45°, seldom more than 5 cm long; ribs low and broad, decurrent from scale leaves, often minutely pustulate.
    Leaves
    Leaves all reduced to scales, those at extreme base of stem triangular-lanceolate, 1.5–3 mm long, those subtending branches lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 1.5–6x0.8–1.6 mm, cuspidate, thick-textured, margins membranous, ciliolate.
    Flowers
    Flowers sessile, initially solitary at tips of nude peduncles ± 4–30 mm long (measured from axil of bract to first flower), often 2 peduncles from 1 axil, later overtopped by 1 or occasionally 2 branches arising immediately or shortly below flower, branch either nude and terminating in a flower, or bracteate, terminating in a flower and with a floral bud in the axil of each bract; this branching may be repeated again; bracts ± 5, forming an involucre below the flower, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 1–2x0.5–1 mm, acuminate to cuspidate, margins ciliolate.
    Perianth
    Perianth yellow-green outside, white to cream inside; tube (0.6–)0.8–1.2 mm long, external glands ellipsoid, whitish, sometimes not very evident; lobes oblong-lanceolate, 1–1.8 mm long, obtuse, margins inflexed, ± erose; hood 0.25–0.3 mm long.
    Stamens
    Stamens inserted at base of perianth lobes; filaments 0.25–0.5 mm long, hidden by anthers; anthers 0.5–0.8 mm long.
    Pistil
    Style 1–2 mm long; stigma reaching nearly to top of perianth lobes.
    Fruits
    Fruit buff to pale brown, ellipsoid to ovoid-globose, 2.5–3 mm long, 2.5–2.75 mm in diameter, strongly ribbed and reticulate.
    Figures
    Fig. 1/13–15 (page 4).
    Habitat
    Upland grassland and damp places in Brachystegia woodland or by streams; 1500–2300 m
    Distribution
    K3 T4 T7 T8

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    Thesium unyikense Engl. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Goetze [1377], Tanzania K000431467 Unknown type material

    First published in Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 30: 306 (1901)

    Accepted by

    • Pope, G.V., Polhill, R.M. & Martins, E.S. (eds.) (2006). Flora Zambesiaca 9(3): 1-277. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Polhill, R.M. (2005). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Santalaceae: 1-27.

    Literature

    Flora Zambesiaca
    • F.T.A. 6, 1: 428 (1911). TAB. 47, fig. D.
    • Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 30: 306 (1901).
    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Pope, G.V., Polhill, R.M. & Martins, E.S. (eds.) (2006). Flora Zambesiaca 9(3): 1-277. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Polhill, R.M. (2005). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Santalaceae: 1-27.
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Agnew, A.D.Q. & Agnew, S., Upland Kenya Wild Flowers, ed. 2: 159, t. 58 (1994).
    • Baker & Hill in Flora of Tropical Africa 6(1): 428 (1911).
    • Engl. in A. Engler, Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 30: 306 (1901).

    Sources

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    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