Blepharis stuhlmannii Lindau

This species is accepted, and its native range is Uganda to N. Zambia.


Acanthaceae (part 1), Kaj Vollesen, Flora of Tropical East Africa, 2008

Morphology General Habit
Erect to procumbent perennial herb with several stems from woody rootstock; stems up to 0.5(–1) m long, puberulous (sometimes only in a single band) to pubescent or densely so (rarely sericeous).
Morphology Leaves
Leaves subequal or smaller down to 1/2(–1/3) of larger; lamina linear-lanceolate to narrowly ovate or narrowly elliptic (rarely elliptic), largest 2.5–13(–16) × 0.4–2(–3.5) cm, margin on some or all with 1–5(–8) teeth per side (very rarely all entire), glabrous to puberulous or pubescent, scabrid above and along margins.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Heads on upper part of stems (rarely at base), usually dense but sometimes much elongated and repeatedly bifurcate with up to 2 cm long internodes between the flowers, occasionally the whole plant one large inflorescence with no vegetative leaves; peduncle (in plants with dense heads) 0.5–5(–6) cm long, puberulous to pubescent (rarely densely so), with or without capitate glands; axes puberulous or sericeous-puberulous, with few to many capitate glands; floral leaves and outer bracts lanceolate to narrowly ovate or narrowly elliptic, 1–8 cm long, indument as axes; inner bracts similar or elliptic, up to 2.5 cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals puberulous to pubescent and with usually dense capitate glands, distinctly ciliate; dorsal ovate-elliptic, 17–28(–32) mm long, with short or long ligulate apical part (rarely slightly spathulate below tip or narrowing gradually to tip), apex acute to truncate, with 1–3 apical teeth and below these sometimes with 1–2(–4) lateral teeth per side; ventral elliptic, 15–25(–30) mm long, not or slightly ligulate, bifurcate (usually deeply) at tip, with or without central tooth and without or with 1–2(–4) lateral teeth per side; lateral 15–25 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla white to pale blue, blue or mauve, pale greyish pink to salmon pink, 23–33(–39) mm long of which the tube 4–9(–13) mm; limb distinctly 3-lobed, below with dense capitate glands, callus with 3 equally strong ribs and 3 large apical flanges.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Filaments
Filaments (4–)5–9 mm long, glabrous or sparsely glandular; appendage 2–4 mm long, triangular in outline, flattened towards the anther, tapering to an obtuse tip, curved; anthers 3.5–6 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule 9–13 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seed 6–8 × 4–5 mm.
In northern part of area in Acacia wooded grassland and in grassland, in southern part ( T 4–7) in Brachystegia woodland and wooded grassland, sometimes persisting in cultivated areas, on a wide range of soils from rocky slopes through sandy to loamy soil or even black clay; (450–)850–2200 m
Collections from K 6; T 1, 2, 5 and partly T 4 are uniform apart from a large variation in the contraction of the heads. Blepharis stuhlmannii is by far the most variable species in Sect. Scorpioideae, but there seems to be no satisfactory ways of subdividing the material. Lindau's indication of a plant with quite widely spaced flowers is particularly revealing. It is the only species of this section occurring anywhere near Mwanza which fits the original description. But when the species gets into the Brachystegia woodlands of T 4 & 7 it suddenly exhibits an enormous variation. Even though the type is no longer extant, there is no doubt as to the identity of this species. It also lacks the outer lateral teeth on the lower sepal and has a callus with 3 equally strong ribs. But it has a spreading puberulous indumentum combined with dentate leaves, a combination never seen in B. affinis. Forms with large elliptic leaves and with elliptic floral leaves ( Semsei FH 2516) also occur here, as well as a rare form with entire leaves ( Milne-Redhead & Taylor 11075). Here there are pyrophytic forms without vegetative leaves, either with dense heads ( Bally 7493), with more open heads but almost glabrous ( Boaler 653) or with large open dichotomously branched inflorescences and very glandular ( Richards 25865). The only collection from T 3 ( Faulkner 1381) is from a much lower altitude (450 m) than usual, and shows some resemblance with Blepharis affinis. The type of Blepharis evansii is exceptionally hairy, but other Kenyan specimens and some from northern Tanzania are intermediate to the normal sparser indumentum of the Tanzanian material. In all other respects this material is identical with material from Kenya and N Tanzania, and a number of collections from Rwanda are more or less intermediate with glandular bracts and sepals and with either short or long sepals (e.g. Lewalle 2625, Becquet 564 and Raynal 20718). The material from Uganda, Rwanda and neighbouring areas of Congo ( Blepharis cristata, sensu stricto) is normally eglandular and has small leaves (2.5–6(–8.5) cm long) and short sepals (dorsal 17–23 mm versus 20–28 mm in Kenya and Tanzania and ventral 14–21 mm versus (16–)18–25 mm).
Range: Rwanda, Congo-Kinshasa, Zambia Flora districts: U2 K6 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T7 Range: Rwanda, Congo-Kinshasa, Zambia Range: Kenya. Range: Uganda. Range: Tanzania.

Native to:

Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre

Blepharis stuhlmannii Lindau appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jan 1, 1997 Greenway, P.J. [13624], Tanzania K000394314 neotype
Jan 1, 1997 Evans, M.S. [754], Kenya K000394315 Unknown type material
Jan 1, 1997 Bagshawe [506], Uganda K000394316 isotype
Bidgood, S. [6373], Tanzania K000468052
Bidgood, S. [6233], Tanzania K000468192
Bidgood, S. [6221], Tanzania K000468204
Bidgood, S. [6207], Tanzania K000468218
Bidgood, S. [6103], Tanzania K000468322
Bidgood, S. [5856], Tanzania K000468569
Bidgood, S. [6049], Tanzania K000468376
Bidgood, S. [6023], Tanzania K000468402
Bidgood, S. [6389], Tanzania K000468036
Bidgood, S. [6059], Tanzania K000468366

First published in Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 20: 31 (1894)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. MIM, Deurne.
  • Vollesen, K. (2008). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Acanthaceae(1): 1-285.
  • Vollesen, K. (2013). Flora Zambesiaca 8(5): 1-184. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • E. & P. Pf. IV, 3b: 318 (1895)
  • E.J. 20: 31 (1894)
  • P.O.A. C: 370 (1895)
  • Raynal et al.,Fl. Med. Miss. Rwanda 1: 31 (1980)
  • Ruffo et al.,Cat. Lushoto Herb. Tanzania: 3 (1996)
  • U.K.W.F. ed. 2: 274 (1994)
  • U.K.W.F.: 579 (1974)
  • Vollesen, Blepharis: 290 (2000).

  • 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 Selected Plant Families 2022. 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 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.