Genus:
Ocimum L.

Ocimum tenuiflorum L.

Ocimum tenuiflorum is closely related to culinary basil (Ocimum basilicum), but differs in being a short-lived perennial with smaller flowers. Commonly known as holy basil or tulsi and tulasi in South Asia, it is an important sacred plant in Hinduism and, as with many plant species used in Asia, the religious uses are often linked with the medicinal uses. Historically, holy basil was frequently grown in large vessels in the courtyards of Hindu forts and temples to cleanse the body. One of the plant's synonyms, Ocimum sanctum, reflects this religious connection.

[UNAL]

Bernal, R., G. Galeano, A. Rodríguez, H. Sarmiento y M. Gutiérrez. 2017. Nombres Comunes de las Plantas de Colombia. http://www.biovirtual.unal.edu.co/nombrescomunes/

Vernacular
albahaca morada, toronjil, toronjil morado

[KBu]

Suddee, S., A. J. Paton, & Parnell, J. (2005). Taxonomic Revision of Tribe Ocimeae Dumort. (Lamiaceae) in Continental South East Asia III. Ociminae. Kew Bulletin, 60(1), 3-75. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4110885

Distribution
Africa, SW Asia, Himalaya, India, Sri Lanka, China, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, Philippines, throughout Malaysia and Indonesia, often cultivated.
Ecology
In waste ground, open places; from sea level up to 1200 m.
Morphology General Habit
Short lived perennial herbs up to 1 m tall
Morphology Leaves
Leaves spreading, elliptic, oblong or ovate-oblong, 5 - 45 x 5 - 20 mm, apex obtuse or acute, base obtuse, margin coarsely serrate, glandular- punctate, glabrous or puberulous above, with adpressed hairs restricted to veins beneath; petiole 4 - 15 mm long, hirsute
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens with posterior pair having a small tuft of hairs at base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 1 - 1.5 mm long at anthesis, 3 - 4 mm long in fruit; posterior lip rounded, sometimes with apiculate apex; anterior lip with 2 median lanceolate teeth curved upwards, longer than the 2 lateral teeth and the posterior lip; throat open; tube with patent hairs, with sessile or subsessile glands outside, glabrous or with very fine minute glandular hairs inside
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla purplish-red, 2 - 3 mm long, lobes pubescent on back; posterior lip with the 2 obovate- oblong median lobes slightly longer than the 2 oblong lateral lobes; anterior lip obovate-oblong; tube glabrous on both sides
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets brown, ovoid-oblong, smooth, unchanged when wet.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence lax or dense, verticils 5 - 10 mm apart, axis hirsute; bracts ovate 2 - 3 x 2 - 4 mm, apex acute, acuminate or cuspidate, base cuneate, sometimes subsessile, margin ciliate, abaxial with 3 conspicuous nerves, pubescent; pedicels 2.5 - 4 mm long in fruit, slender, pubescent, nearly as long as calyx
Morphology Stem
Stems round-quadrangular, hirsute, sometimes with sessile or subsessile glands
Note
In his original description of Ocimum hirsutum Bentham cited localities Courtallum and Palamcotta. The specimens in K-W, Wall. Cat. 2717 are mixed, with specimens from two different gatherings. Specimens Wall. Cat. 2717A are from Courtallum. The specimens from Palamcotta, Wall. Cat. 2717C appear to be Endostemon viscosus.
Phenology
Flowering and fruiting January - December.
Type
Cultivated in Uppsala, Linnean Herbarium 749.13 [lectotype LINN (microfiche!)].
Vernacular
Burmese: Lun, Pinsein-net, Kala- pinsein. Cambodian: Che Tak, Che Tak Me. Laos: Sa Phao Lom Deng, Sa Phao Lom Khao, Phak I Tou Thai. Thai: Komko, Komko Dong (Chiang Mai); Ka Phrao, Ka Phrao Khaao, Ka Phrao Daeng (Central); Ho-Kwo-Suu, Ho-Tuu-Pluu (Karen-Mae Hong Son); Im-Khim-Lam (Shan-Mae Hong Son). Vietnamese: E Rung, E Tia, E Do, Huongnhu Tia, Cay E Tia, Cay Co E Rung, E To.

[FTEA]

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
Lectotype, see Paton, loc. cit. (1992): cultivated in Sweden, Uppsala, Linnean Herbarium 749.13 (LINN!, lecto.)
Morphology General Habit
Aromatic herb or woody herb to 1 m tall
Morphology Stem
Stems erect, branched, woody at base; indumentum of patent hairs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves petiolate; blade broadly elliptical, 1.5–3.3 × 1.1–2 cm, serrate, apex obtuse, base cuneate, with an indumentum of short, appressed hairs; petiole 7–15 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence lax; pedicels in fruit 3–4 mm long, spreading
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 1(–3 in fruit) mm long; throat open and glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla pink or white, 3 mm long; tube ± parallel-sided
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Posterior stamens ciliate, cilia concentrated on one side of the filament near base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets brown, ovoid, ± 1 mm long, producing small amounts of mucilage when wet.
Ecology
Degraded bushland; 20 m
Conservation
Least concern (LC); widespread
Distribution
Range: Cultivated in Tanzania and probably throughout East Africa, native in India and Malaysia. Used for making tea Flora districts: K7

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Holy basil is an important medicinal and religious plant closely related to the basil we use for cooking.

Ocimum tenuiflorum is closely related to culinary basil (Ocimum basilicum), but differs in being a short-lived perennial with smaller flowers. Commonly known as holy basil or tulsi and tulasi in South Asia, it is an important sacred plant in Hinduism and, as with many plant species used in Asia, the religious uses are often linked with the medicinal uses. Historically, holy basil was frequently grown in large vessels in the courtyards of Hindu forts and temples to cleanse the body. One of the plant's synonyms, Ocimum sanctum, reflects this religious connection.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Native to tropical and subtropical Asia, and cultivated and naturalised in other tropical areas.

Description

Holy basil is an aromatic, perennial herb up to 1 m tall, sometimes purplish in colour. The leaves are elliptic (narrow oval) in shape. The fruits have four small brown nutlets, which, unlike basil, do not produce a lot of mucilage when wet.

Uses

Regarded as sacred in Hinduism, Ocimum tenuiflorum has many traditional medicinal uses. A mixture of leaves and seeds, with black pepper ( Piper nigrum ) is given to pregnant women suffering from malaria. Fresh flowers are used to treat coughs and colds. The plant has shown promise in clinical trials in alleviating hepatic dysfunction, and is an ingredient of pills and ointment to cure eczema. The essential oil from some populations of holy basil contains high levels of eugenol. In traditional Thai medicine, the leaf or whole plant is used to alleviate nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and flatulence. Alcohol extracts from the plant heal peptic ulcers.

The leaf extract is effective in checking the spread of the fungal pathogens Pyricularia oryzae and Rhizoctonia solani , which cause blast disease and sheath blight disease of rice. Antibacterial activity and deterrent against the larvae of root knot nematode ( Meloidogyne incognita ) have been reported, and the oil is a mosquito repellent.

Ocimum tenuiflorum is used as a major flavouring ingredient in Thai cuisine. Because it is regarded as sacred in Hinduism, it is used to make rosaries - the woody stems are used to make the beads.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank:  One

Germination testing: Successful

Cultivation

A native of South Asia, it can be grown in pots in the UK, but is not frost-hardy.

Ecology
Cultivated
Conservation
Least Concern
Hazards

Applications to the skin can cause reactions in sensitive people.

[UPFC]
Distribution
Biogeografic region: Andean, Caribbean, Pacific. Elevation range: 0–1500 m a.s.l. Naturalised in Colombia. Colombian departments: Atlántico, Bolívar, Cauca, Cesar, Chocó, Córdoba, La Guajira, Magdalena, San Andrés y Providencia, Sucre, Valle del Cauca.
Habit
Herb, Subshrub.
Ecology
Habitat according IUCN Habitats Classification: forest and woodland, savanna, shrubland, artificial - terrestrial.
Vernacular
Toronjil silvestre

[CPLC]

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Distribution
Naturalizada y adventicia en Colombia; Alt. 0 - 1500 m.; Islas Caribeñas, Llanura del Caribe, Pacífico, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Valle del Cauca, Valle del Magdalena.
Morphology General Habit
Hierba, subarbusto
Conservation
No Evaluada

[KBu]
Use
This species is used as medicine to cure asthma in Cambodia (Geoffray 369: P) and to cure coughs in Vietnam (Squire 350: BM, E, P). In Thailand, the dried and crushed leaves are used to prevent pain or to cure stomach problems (Brun & Schumacher 85: C).

[KSP]
Use
Food, medicinal.

[UPFC]
Use Food
Used for food.
Use Materials
Used as material.
Use Medicines
Medical uses.
Use Poisons
Poisons.
Use Social
Social uses.

Native to:

Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Cambodia, Caroline Is., China South-Central, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Hainan, India, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Marianas, Marshall Is., Myanmar, Nepal, New Guinea, Nicobar Is., Pakistan, Philippines, Queensland, Solomon Is., South China Sea, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Thailand, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Himalaya

Introduced into:

Bahamas, Cayman Is., Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Kenya, Line Is., Malawi, Marquesas, Niue, Samoa, Society Is., Southwest Caribbean, Tokelau-Manihiki, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, Windward Is., Zambia

English
Holy basil

Ocimum tenuiflorum L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Nov 27, 2015 Rafidah, A.R. et al. [FRI64361], Malaysia K000734908 No
Jan 1, 2012 Cheng, S.K. et al. [CL1339], Cambodia K000735617 No
Jan 1, 2011 Zainal Arifin [596] K000735044 No
Jan 1, 2011 David [CL655], Cambodia K000735325 No
Jan 1, 2011 Cheng [CL1346], Cambodia K000735327 No
Jan 1, 2011 David [CL814], Cambodia K000735328 No
May 1, 2000 Matamin Rumutom [337], Malaysia K000897273 No
Jan 1, 1999 Bloembergen, S. [3224], Indonesia K000897264 No
Jan 1, 1999 Powell, D.A. [XI1351], Australia K000897252 No
Jan 1, 1999 Powell, D.A. [XI1351], Australia K000897253 No
Jul 1, 1997 Tadong, L. [80], Malaysia K000897278 No
Jul 1, 1997 Andau, D. [19], Malaysia K000897275 No
Jul 1, 1997 Tadong, D. [277], Malaysia K000897277 No
Jul 1, 1997 Tadong, D. [137], Malaysia K000897279 No
Jul 1, 1997 Tadong, D. [570], Malaysia K000897276 No
Jan 1, 1994 Luke, W.R.Q. [3840], Kenya K000434797 No
Aug 24, 1989 Mamit, J.D. [34564], Malaysia K000897270 No
Nov 18, 1988 Harini [075], Indonesia K000897291 No
Aet [525], Indonesia K000897215 No
Wiakabu, J. [LAE73562], Papua New Guinea K000897211 No
s.coll. [s.n.], Indonesia K000897290 No
Teruya, E. [1658], Indonesia K000897287 No
Enoh, M. [382], Indonesia K000897271 No
Ambri [1241], Indonesia K000897265 No
Buwalda, P. [4976], Indonesia K000897261 No
s.coll. [3474], Philippines K000897235 No
Reynoso, E. [1463], Philippines K000897229 No
Cuming, H. [2433], Indonesia K000897216 No
Fraser, M. [254], Malaysia K000897284 No
Keith, H.G. [7394], Malaysia K000897285 No
Ambri [1240], Indonesia K000897266 No
Loher, A. [4220], Philippines K000897234 No
Vidal, S. [3480], Philippines K000897227 No
Lütjeharms, W.J. [4922], Indonesia K000897289 No
Daernedi, D. [690], Indonesia K000897250 No
Hellwig, F. [94], Papua New Guinea K000897212 No
Wallace, A.R. [s.n.], Indonesia K000897257 No
Buwalda, P. [4051], Indonesia K000897262 No
Conklin, H.C. [37857], Philippines K000897230 No
Gaerlan, F. [3080], Philippines K000897228 No
Burbidge, F.W. [s.n.], Philippines K000897241 No
Yii, P.C. [60625], Malaysia K000897269 No
Meyer, A.B. [s.n.], Indonesia K000897258 No
Kadir [A929], Malaysia K000897286 No
Moseley, H.N. [s.n.], Philippines K000897236 No
Wallich, N. [s.n.] K000911680 Unknown type material Yes
Yii, P.C. [63290], Malaysia K000897268 No
Eyma, P.J. [1748], Indonesia K000897259 No
Gregory, V.B. [57], Philippines K000897231 No
Fraser, M. [223], Malaysia K000897272 No
Teruya, Z. [1763], Indonesia K000897263 No
Loher, A. [4222], Philippines K000897240 No
Loher, A. [4221], Philippines K000897237 No
Pleyte, D.R. [150], Indonesia K000897260 No
Goklin, T. [2552], Malaysia K000897282 No
Usteri, P.A. [2820], Philippines K000897233 No
Moseley, H.N. [s.n.], Indonesia K000897256 No
Keith, H.G. [1611], Malaysia K000897283 No
Jones, B.L. [472], Malaysia K000897274 No
Horsfield, T. [s.n.], Indonesia K000897288 No
Cuming, H. [1779], Philippines K000897238 No
Wight [s.n.], India K000911681 Yes
Creagh, C.M.G. [s.n.], Malaysia K000897280 No
Koorders, S.H. [26206], Indonesia K000897292 No
Haviland, G.D. [3051], Malaysia K000897281 No
Merrill, E.D. [400], Philippines K000897232 No
Yii, P.C. [62838], Malaysia K000897267 No
Branderhorst, B. [50], Indonesia K000897214 No
Taylor, P.M. [507], Indonesia K000897251 No
Koorders, S.H. [27453], Indonesia K000897293 No
Savinierre, E. de la [340], Indonesia K000897255 No
Achmad [305], Indonesia K000897294 No
Carr, C.E. [11605], Papua New Guinea K000897213 No
Meyer, A.B. [s.n.], Indonesia K000897254 No
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2717], India Ocimum hirsutum K001116922 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2717], India Ocimum hirsutum K001116925 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2717] Ocimum hirsutum K001116924 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2717], India Ocimum hirsutum K001116923 Unknown type material Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2717], India Ocimum hirsutum K001116921 Yes
Jan 1, 1964 Thomson, G. [68], Singapore Ocimum sanctum K000897338 No
India Ocimum sanctum 33715.000 No
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116910 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116916 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116911 Yes
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 2716], Myanmar Ocimum sanctum K001116909 Yes
Yapp, R.H. [298], Malaysia Ocimum sanctum K000897339 No
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116919 Yes
Teo, L.E. [562], Malaysia Ocimum sanctum K000897341 No
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116913 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116920 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116914 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116915 Yes
Carrick, J. [1504], Malaysia Ocimum sanctum K000897340 No
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116918 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116917 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 2716] Ocimum sanctum K001116912 Yes
Bally, P.R.O. [15966], Somalia Ocimum tomentosum 52044.000 No
Gilbert Ocimum tomentosum 60210.000 No

First published in Sp. Pl.: 597 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
  • Balkrishna, A. (2018). Flora of Morni Hills (Research & Possibilities): 1-581. Divya Yoga Mandir Trust.
  • Bernal, R., Gradstein, R.S. & Celis, M. (eds.) (2016). Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia 1-2: 1-3068. Libro impreso.
  • Bramley, G.L.C. (2019). Flora Malesiana 23: 1-444. Noordhoff-Kolff N.V., Djakarta.
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008). Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela: 1-859. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela.
  • Khanam, M. & Hassan, M.A. (2008). Lamiaceae Flora of Bangladesh 58: 1-161. Bangladesh National Herbarium, Dhaka.
  • Manikandan, R., Chandrasekar, K. & Srivastava, S.K. (2012). Life form analysis of the family Lamiaceae in Jammu & Kashmir, India Phytotaxonomy 12: 7-19.
  • National Parks Board Singapore (2006). Vascular Plant Life Checklist Pulau Ubin www.nparks.gov.sg/nparks_cms/cms/cmsmgr/data/6/PlantChkList.xls.
  • Paton, A.J., Bramley, G., Ryding, O., Polhill, R., Harvey, Y., Iwarsson, M., Willis, F., Phillipson, P., Balkwill, K., Lukhoba, C., Otiend, D & Harley (2009). Lamiaceae (Labiatae) Flora of Tropical East Africa: 1-430.
  • 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.
  • Smith, A.C. (1991). Flora Vitiensis Nova. A new flora for Fiji (Spermatophytes only) 5: 1-626. Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai.
  • Suddee, S., Paton, A.J. & Parnell, J.A.N. (2005). Taxonomic Revision of the tribe Ocimeae Dumort (Lamiaceae) in continental South East Asia III. Ociminae Kew Bulletin 60: 3-75.
  • Sykes, W.R. (2016). Flora of the Cook Islands: 1-973. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii.
  • Welsh, S.L. (1998). Flora Societensis: 1-420. E.P.S. Inc. Utah.

Literature

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Kew Species Profiles

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Kew Backbone Distributions

  • (2020). file:///C:/Users/rg02kg/Downloads/7790-19423-1-PB.pdf epublication.
  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
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  • Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008). Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela: 1-859. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela.
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  • Lorence, D.H. & Wagnwe, W.L. (2020). Flora of the Marquesas Islands 2: 413-1135. National Tropical Botanic Garden, Smithsonian, DRPF.
  • Manikandan, R., Chandrasekar, K. & Srivastava, S.K. (2012). Life form analysis of the family Lamiaceae in Jammu & Kashmir, India Phytotaxonomy 12: 7-19.
  • Paton, A.J., Bramley, G., Ryding, O., Polhill, R., Harvey, Y., Iwarsson, M., Willis, F., Phillipson, P., Balkwill, K., Lukhoba, C., Otiend, D & Harley (2009). Lamiaceae (Labiatae) Flora of Tropical East Africa: 1-430.
  • 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.
  • Sykes, W.R. (1970). Contributions to the flora of Niue Bulletin, New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research 200: 1-321.
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  • Thaman, R.R. & Tye, A. (2015). Flora of Kiritimari (Christmass) atoll, Northern Line islands, Republic of Kiribati Atoll Research Bulletin 608: 1-73.
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Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. (Bot.)19: 113 (1989)
  • K.B. 47: 432 (1992)
  • K.B. 47: 432 (1992).
  • Sp. Pl.: 597 (1753)

  • Art and Illustrations in Digifolia

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

  • Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    ColPlantA 2021. Published on the Internet at http://colplanta.org
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

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  • Kew Bulletin

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  • 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/
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  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia

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  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

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