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This species is accepted, and its native range is N. Sinai, Egypt to S. Tropical Africa.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Compositae, H. Beentje, C. Jeffrey & D.J.N. Hind. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2005

Morphology General Habit
Erect or trailing perennial herb 0.1–1 m tall, the lower stem often decumbent and rooting at the nodes with thread-like roots, sparsely branched distally; stems often flushed purple, densely pubescent to puberulous but glabrescent, glandular, winged with wings to 4 mm wide, entire to dentate.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves slightly succulent, elliptic or (ob-)lanceolate, 2–11 cm long, 0.5–4 cm wide, base decurrent into the wings, margins serrulate or serrate, rarely subentire, apex acute or obtuse and mucronate, pubescent or sparsely puberulous but glabrescent, glandular-punctate, aromatic with a smell like camphor, apples or mint.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Glomerules purple or mauve, globose or broadly ovoid, occasionally double, 9–20 mm in diameter; peduncle 0.7–7 cm long, winged; receptacle globose or ovoid; glomerule bracts hidden by the capitula (except the very tips), or the proximal visible at the base and eventually deflexed, lanceolate or elliptic, 3–7 mm long, margins ciliate distally, acuminate to almost spinulose, puberulous to almost glabrous; capitula sessile, with 4–8 bracts, some slightly folded, linear or oblanceolate, 2–4 mm long, margins distally ciliate, apex apiculate or laciniate, puberulous distally; receptacle of glomerule flat or shallowly to deeply convex.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Florets
Florets:outer florets 4–15, tube narrowing from a rather wide and corky base, 1–2.9 mm long, occasionally sparsely glandular, hardly toothed or with lobes up to 0.3 mm long; style 1.9–3.1 mm long, exserted at a very late stage; inner florets (1–)2–4, tube cylindric but widening and hardly narrowed below the lobes, 1–2.2(–3) mm long, sparsely glandular, lobes 0.2–0.5 mm long; anthers 0.9–1.8 mm long, exserted only at a late stage; style 1.8–4.5 mm long, not divided, papillose.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Achenes of outer florets cylindrical, 0.5–0.9 mm, puberulous; of the inner florets to 1 mm long, thin and probably sterile, glabrous or nearly so, glandular or eglandular.
Banks of streams, pools, lakes, in marshy sites, in moist furrows, but always in permanently or seasonally moist sites, occasionally aquatic or on sudd-islands; may be locally common or carpet-forming; 350–2600 m
K1 K3 K4 K5 K6 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 U1

Native to:

Burundi, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sinai, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre

Sphaeranthus suaveolens DC. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Ash [865], Ethiopia 38822.000
Dümmer, R. [2574], Uganda K000274168 Unknown type material
Small, W. [1184], Uganda K000274169 Unknown type material
Small, W. [1184], Uganda K000274170
Napier, E.R. [425], Kenya K000274173

First published in Prodr. 5: 370 (1836)

Accepted by

  • Roskov Y. & al. (eds.) (2018). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life Naturalis, Leiden, the Netherlands.


Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Agnew, A.D.Q. & Agnew, S., Upland Kenya Wild Flowers, ed. 2: 209, pl. 86 (1994).
  • Blundell, Wild Flow. E. Afr.: t. 775 (1987).
  • DC., Prodr. 5: 370 (1836).
  • E. Lind & A. Tallantire, Some Common Flowering Plants of Uganda p. 176 (1962).
  • F. W. Andr., The Flowering Plants of the Sudan 3: 53 (1956).
  • Lisowski in Flore d'Afrique Centrale Compositae, Inuleae: 222 (1989).
  • Oliv. & Hiern in Flora of Tropical Africa 3: 333 (1877).
  • Robyns in Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, Kew 1924: 188 (1924).
  • Ross-Craig in Hook., Ic. Pl. ser. 5, 6: 42, t. 3508 (1955).
  • Wild in Kirkia 12: 105 (1980).

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. 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 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.