Family:
Malvaceae Juss.

Melhania randii Baker f.

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

[FZ]

Sterculiaceae, H. Wild. Flora Zambesiaca 1:2. 1961

Morphology General Habit
A species very similar to M. prostrata but distinguished by its leaves which are tomentellous above as well as below, its epicalyx bracts which are up to 1 cm. long rather than approaching 1·5 cm. long, slightly shorter than the sepals and lanceolate-acuminate rather than narrowly ovate-acuminate, and by its seeds which have a smooth rather than reticulate testa.

[FTEA]

Sterculiaceae, Martin Cheek & Laurence Dorr; Nesogordonia, Laurence Dorr, Lisa Barnett. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2007

Type
Type: Zimbabwe, Harare [Salisbury], Rand 439 (BM, holo.)
Morphology General Habit
Suffrutescent subshrub, to 0.6 m tall; erect, with several slender woody stems arising from a thick, woody rootstock or caudex; young branches finely stellatetomentose with minute reddish-brown stellate hairs intermingled; glabrescent in age
Morphology Leaves
Leaves narrowly oblong-elliptic or lanceolate-elliptic to ovate-oblong, 2–7 cm long, 0.7–1.5 cm wide, apex subacute to rounded, mucronate or submucronate, margin entire, rarely shallowly dentate in part, base narrowly cuneate to rounded, finely stellate-tomentose above (in some forms early glabrescent), finely and minutely stellate-tomentose with scattered reddish-brown stellate hairs below; palmately 3-nerved from the base; petiole 0.2–1 cm long, ± 0.5 mm wide, tomentose; stipules narrowly lanceolate or subulate, 4–8 mm long, caducous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences 2–3-flowered cymes or flowers solitary; peduncle 7 mm long and indistinguishable from the pedicels or up to 4 cm long; pedicels to 1.2 cm long; peduncle and pedicels tomentose; epicalyx bracts narrowly lanceolate (narrowly ovate to ovate-acuminate), 6–9(–13) mm long, 1–3(–6) mm wide (larger bracts found mostly on specimens outside FTEA area), slightly shorter than the sepals, tomentose within and without, and with minute reddish-brown stellate hairs intermixed outside
Morphology General Buds
Floral buds ovoid, the sepal tips confluent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals lanceolateacuminate, 8–11 mm long, 3–4 mm wide, tomentose and with conspicuous reddish brown stellate hairs without, glabrous within
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals obovate, asymmetrical, 8–9 mm long, 4.5–7 mm wide, apex oblique, yellow or bright golden yellow, glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Staminal tube ± 1.5 mm long, free portion of filaments ± 1 mm long, anthers 2–3 mm long, free portion of staminodes 3–5 mm long, glabrous. Ovary globose to ovoid, 2–2.5 mm long, 2–3 mm in diameter, velutinous, with stellate hairs and straight bristly hairs especially in upper portion; 6 ovules per locule; style ± 1 mm long, glabrous; stigma lobes ± 1.5 mm long, erect to spreading
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsules narrowly ovoid, 7–10 mm long, 8–10 mm in diameter, stellatepubescent with some hairs scale-like, 1–3(–6) seeds per locule (1 seed per locule in FTEA specimen).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seed ± ovoid, 2–2.5 mm long, 1–1.5 mm wide, testa smooth, without an elaisome
Ecology
Not stated by the collector, probably open woodland; 2100 m
Conservation
This species though known from a single specimen in the FTEA area, is common further south (23 specimens in the Flora Zambesiaca area), is widespread and common, and its habitat not significantly threatened as far as is known. It is rated here as of “least concern” for conservation.
Note
The stout caudex and collectors’ notes indicate that M. randii is adapted to growing in vegetation that is periodically burned. Our material of M. randii differs from that described by Verdoorn (1981) in having fruits with 1-seeded locules, in which as many as 3 additional aborted ovules can be detected. Verdoorn did note that this species has a discontinuous distribution, and the isolation of populations undoubtedly contributes to their diverging one from the other with respect to various characters. M. randii is very similar to M. prostrata DC., which is more widespread in southern Africa, but the former may be distinguished from the latter by leaf vestiture (finely and minutely stellate-pubescent above versus sparsely pubescent with mostly long, simple subappressed hairs), epicalyx bract length (6–9(–13) versus 8–15 mm) and shape (lanceolate-acuminate versus narrowly ovate-acuminate), and seed testa (smooth versus reticulate). M. randii differs from M. integra I.Verd., the only other entire-margined Melhania in Africa, by its shorter style (± 1 versus 6–8 mm long) and shorter petals (8–9 versus ± 16 mm long).
Distribution
Flora districts: T7 Range: Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and northern South Africa

Native to:

Malawi, Mozambique, Northern Provinces, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

Melhania randii Baker f. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in J. Bot. 37: 425 (1899)

Accepted by

  • Cheek, M. & Dorr, L. (2007). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Sterculiaceae: 1-134.
  • Exell, A.W. & Wild, H. (eds.) (1961). Flora Zambesiaca 1(2): 337-581. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa an annotated checklist Strelitzia 14: 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Literature

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Cheek, M. & Dorr, L. (2007). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Sterculiaceae: 1-134.
  • Exell, A.W. & Wild, H. (eds.) (1961). Flora Zambesiaca 1(2): 337-581. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa an annotated checklist Strelitzia 14: 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Bothalia 13: 266–267 (1981).
  • E.M. 5: 6 (1900)
  • F.Z. 1(1): 530, t. 99/F (1960)
  • J.B. 37: 425 (1899)

  • 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

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. 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 2022. 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