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  1. Family: Scrophulariaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Selago L.
      1. Selago thomsonii Rolfe

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Kenya to Tanzania.


    Scrophulariaceae, D. Philcox. Flora Zambesiaca 8:2. 1990

    Perennial woody herb or subshrub 15–50(150) cm. tall: stem erect, ascending or decumbent, branches many-leaved, short white-pubesent.
    Leaves alternate on inflorescence branches, fasciculate on main stems, 6–12(30) x (0.25)1–2(5) mm., linear-lanceolate, subobtuse, entire, minutely hispid to subglabrous except on margins and prominent major nerves beneath, densely glandular-punctate on both surfaces.
    Inflorescence corymbose of short, rounded heads; 4–6 mm. in diam., subglobose, terminal, slightly elongated in fruit.
    Peduncles up to 10 mm. long, slender, pubescent.
    Flowers sessile.
    Bracts up to c. 2 mm. long, linear, obtuse or boat-shaped, pubescent.
    Calyx (1)1.5–2 mm. long, pubescent; lobes 0.5–1 mm. long, about equalling tube, subulate-linear to oblong, obtuse or acute, the 3 lower lobes narrow subequal in width, the 2 upper lobes broader subacute or subobtuse, shortly ciliate.
    Corolla purple to lilac-blue, rarely white; tube (1)1.5–2(2.5) mm. long, glabrous without; lobes subequalling tube, subcircular-oblong, longest (1.3)1.5–2 x 0.8–1.2 mm.
    Capsule c. 1–1.5 mm. long, somewhat compressed, ovoid-globose.

    Scrophulariaceae, S.A. Ghazanfar, F.N. Hepper & D. Philcox. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2008

    Type: Tanzania, Kilimanjaro, Thomson 35 (K!, lecto., chosen by Hilliard, 1999)
    Annual herb with the main stem arising from a simple taproot.
    Stems reddish or pale brown, simple below but soon branching, erect or decumbent, 10–50 cm long, leafy throughout, pubescent with down-curving and spreading hairs
    Leaves opposite and alternate, densely fascicled, spreading, linear, 5–20 mm long, 0.5–2 mm wide, base tapering, apex acute to obtuse, margins entire or with 1–2 teeth in the apical part, ± thickened and ± revolute, hairy on surfaces and margins, glandular-punctate
    Inflorescence of congested racemes forming small round-topped corymbose panicles; bracts adnate to pedicel and about half of calyx tube, oblong to elliptic, 2–3 mm, obtuse, concave, villous on margins and back, sometime only sparsely so; pedicels up to 1 mm long
    Calyx 1.5–2 mm long, 5-lobed to about half the length, rarely 3-lobed, the two dorsal lobes larger than the other three, oblong to triangular, margins pale, hairy, glandular
    Corolla tube 1–2 mm long, limb ± 3 mm across the lateral lobes; lobes violet to purplish, rarely white, elliptic to oblong-elliptic, ± 1 mm long
    Filaments 1–2 mm long.
    Anthers shortly exserted
    Ovary ovoid, ± 0.5 mm; style and stigma ± 2 mm long with small rounded glands and acute hairs
    Cocci reddish brown, subrotund, ± 1.5 mm in diameter, smooth
    Fig 53: 1–7, p 202
    Montane grassland, stony hillsides with scattered undergrowth, damp open places, periodically burnt secondary bush; 2000–3000 m
    Least concern (LC); common and widespread
    I am following Hilliard for Selago, but am not fully convinced of her treatment of the group of species which includes this taxon, as there are many sheets that show intermediary characters especially those for S. thomsonii and S. caerulea Rolfe (not recorded in Flora area). There is also a dearth of material from the southern highlands of Tanzania which adds to the lack of information for this species group. As treated here S. thomsonii is, to a large extent, geographically isolated from the others in the Flora area (all other species found in T 7), it is also the northernmost representative of the genus in eastern and southern Africa. This is the most widespread of all species of Selago in the Flora area. According to Hillaird (op.cit.) it is distinguished from the others in its annual life-cycle, but I (S.A.G.) have seen material of this species that is apparently perennial (also recorded to be such on the label), but nevertheless agrees with all other characters of S. thomsonii (e.g. Tanzania: W Usambaras, Brenan & Greenway 8308;  Lushoto, Drummond & Hemsley 2121 & Shabani 1222; Kilimanjaro, Leippert 6090; Kenya: Nasampolai, Greenway & Kanuri 15045).
    Range: Not found elsewhere Flora districts: K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 T2 T3 T5 T6 T7
    None recorded on our specimens


    Native to:

    Kenya, Tanzania


    Other Data

    Selago thomsonii Rolfe appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    May 1, 2010 Kindeketa, W.J. [2952], Tanzania K000546003


    First published in J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 21: 402 (1885)

    Accepted by

    • Ghazanfar, S.A., Hepper, F.N. & Philcox, D. (2008). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Scrophulariaceae: 1-211.
    • Fischer, E. (1999). Flore d'Afrique Centrale (Zaire-rwanda-Burundi), Scrophulariaceae: 1-217. Jardin Botanique National de Belgique.
    • Philcox, D. (1990). Flora Zambesiaca 8(2): 1-179. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


    Kew Backbone Distributions

    • Ghazanfar, S.A., Hepper, F.N. & Philcox, D. (2008). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Scrophulariaceae: 1-211.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Fischer, F.A.C. Scrophulariaceae: 18 (1999).
    • Hilliard, Selagineae: 237 (1999)
    • Mem. N.Y. Bot. Gard. 9: 30 (1954)
    • F.T.A. 5: 270 (1900)
    • J.L.S. 21: 402 (1885)


    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.