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This species is accepted, and its native range is Central & E. Tropical to S. Africa.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Lamiaceae (Labiatae), A.J. Paton, G. Bramley, O. Ryding, R.M. Polhill, Y.B. Harvey, M. Iwarsson, F. Willis, P.B. Phillipson, K. Balkwill, C.W. Lukhoba, D.F. Otieno, & R.M. Harley. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2009

Type: Tanzania, Mbeya/Chunya District: Unyiha, Goetze 1458 (B†, holo. BM!, E!, iso.)
Morphology General Habit
Aromatic perennial herb with several stems arising from a thick woody rootstock, or more rarely a shrub, 15–150 cm tall
Morphology Stem
Stems decumbent to erect, roundedquadrangular, simple or branched, pubescent or villous and with sessile glands
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite or ternate, usually deflexed or spreading and only deflexed in the apical portion, sometimes with fascicles of younger leaves in the axils; blade folded along midrib but folding sometimes confined to the apex, ovate to broadly ovate or rotund, 0.5–2.2 × 0.3–1.4 cm, entire or serrate, apex acute, base cuneate, sparsely to densely pubescent; petioles 0.5–5 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence ± condensed, with 6–9flowered verticils touching in flower, up to 25 mm apart in fruit; bracts narrowly ovate, to 4 mm long, erect above forming an inconspicuous apical coma, soon deciduous, the scar forming a bowl-shaped nectary; pedicels 1–2 mm long, ascending, slightly flattened
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 3–5 mm long in flower, pubescent and with sessile glands; posterior lip often purplish, obovate, mucronate at apex, densely ciliate; lateral lobes of anterior lip truncate, densely ciliate and fimbriate towards subulate-aristate median lobes; fruiting calyx 6–9 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla pinkish or white marked purple, 7–14 mm long; tube 4–7(–9) mm long, slightly curved, dorsally gibbous, abruptly dilated at throat; lobes of posterior lip toothed or fimbriate; anterior lip horizontal, concave around filaments
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens exserted 10–15 mm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets pale brown, broadly ovoid, 1.5–2 mm long, smooth, producing mucilage when wet
Fig 23: 1–2, p 140
Grassland prone to burning, sometimes in areas liable to flood; 950–3100 m
Least concern
This is a very polymorphic taxon, with local apparently distinct populations. However, when the total range is considered, it becomes very difficult to separate these forms clearly and unambiguously. The problem is discussed in more detail in K.B. 50: 238–239 (1995). Intermediates occur with O. obovatum var. obovatum; see note under that taxon.
Range: Congo-Kinshasa, Angola, Zambia and Malawi Flora districts: U1 K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 T4 T7

Native to:

Angola, Kenya, Malawi, Northern Provinces, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre

Ocimum decumbens Gürke appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Dec 1, 2012 Hemp [5427b], Tanzania K000735704
Jan 1, 2012 Luke [10857], Kenya K000735482
Nov 1, 2007 Luke [11633], Tanzania K000479589
Kenya K000347101 syntype
Thomson [s.n.], Tanzania K000347102 Unknown type material

First published in Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 30: 400 (1901)

Accepted by

  • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Paton, A.J., Bramley, G., Ryding, O., Polhill, R.M., Harvey, Y.B., Iwarsson, M., Otieno, D., Balkwill, K., Phillipson, P.B., Harley, R.M. & Willis, F. (2013). Flora Zambesiaca 8(8): 1-346. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • E.J. 30: 400 (1901)
  • Holm & Hiltunen, Ocimum: 34 (1999).

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.