Sambucus africana Standl.

First published in Smithsonian Misc. Collect. 68(5): 19 (1917)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is E. Tropical Africa. It is a perennial or rhizomatous geophyte and grows primarily in the montane tropical biome.


Caprifoliaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1968

Morphology General Habit
Shrubby herb, 1·2–4 m. tall, the roots spreading horizontally and producing stems at intervals.
Morphology Stem
Stems mostly juicy but somewhat woody at the base, at first covered with multicellular hairs but later glabrous.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves imparipinnate, attaining 75 cm. in length and 45 cm. in breadth (fide A. S. Thomas), (5–)6–11-foliolate; leaflets subsessile, occasionally apical one partly fused with a lateral, elliptic-oblong, ovate or oblong-lanceolate, 4·5–18 cm. long, 1·3–8 cm. wide, acuminate, very unequally rounded at the base, finely and sharply toothed (the basal teeth often glandular), at first hairy, later glabrous above except for minute hairs on the main nerves, bullate, sparsely pubescent on the main nerves beneath which are slightly raised and reticulate; petioles 0·6–12 cm. long; stipules conspicuous, leafy, toothed (true nature uncertain); on the rhachis near the leaflet bases there are often glandular ? stipels.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences corymbose, 7–15 cm. wide, ferruginous pubescent, subtended by 1–3-foliolate glandular-toothed leaves; bracts and bracteoles linear, small.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx pinkish or purplish; tube ribbed; lobes triangular, ± 1 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla white or creamy-white; tube 1·5 mm. long; lobes elliptic, 4–6 mm. long, 3–3·5 mm. wide, induplicate-valvate in bud.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit oblong or ellipsoid, 4·2–7 mm. long, 2·5–4 mm. wide, blue-black, 9–10-ribbed; fruiting pedicels purplish.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Pyrenes 3–4, bony, pale reddish-brown, linear-oblong, 4–5·5 mm. long, 1–3 mm. wide, somewhat trigonous in section.
Fig. 1.
Upland grassland or evergreen bushland, clearings in or on the edges of moist bamboo thicket and upland rain-forest, or sometimes in upland rain-forest undergrowth; 1800–3150 m.
not known elsewhere K3 K4 K5 K6 T2 U3


  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Flora of Tropical East Africa
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

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  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2022 World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2022 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants.