Olinia Thunb.

Olinia ruandensis Gilg

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


Sebola, R.J. & Balkwill, K. 2013. A monographic study of the Oliniaceae. Kew Bulletin 68: 419.

This species is widely distributed from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Zambia, and Tanzania up to the Great Lakes in Rwanda. On the basis of available evidence from collections by various collectors, evaluation against the IUCN categories indicates Least Concern (LC).
Occurs in Rwanda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.
Growing in forests and at forest margins alt. 1200 – 2250 m.
Morphology General Bark
Bark grey and slightly peeling branchlets pale
Morphology General Habit
Shrubs up to 6 m high
Morphology General Scales
Scales yellowish, 2 – 5 mm long, markedly puberulent
Morphology Leaves
Secondary veins faintly visible above, just visible below, second loop before margins invisible above Primary veins channelled or impressed above, prominent below Leaves 46 – 63 × 27 – 39 mm, discolorous, broadly elliptic apex acuminate base rounded to cuneate
Morphology Leaves Petiole
Petiole 2.5 – 6 mm long, glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flower 5-merous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens as for the genus
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals as for the genus
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 3.5 – 5 mm long, oblong, bluntly apiculate, hairy on margins, glabrous on outside and inside, broader than long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary 5-locular style slightly glabrous, shorter than hypanthium stigma slightly terete
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Hypanthium
Hypanthium narrow, glabrous, 10 – 14 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Pedicel
Pedicels 2 – 4 mm long, pubescent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit globose, 6 – 9 mm in diam., often with pale to whitish lenticels, apex with a circular hypanthium scar 4 – 6 mm in diam., sharp point marks remnant of style.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence units sparsely pubescent, slightly compact
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Bracts caducous or rarely persistent, pubescent, thin and papery
Olinia ruandensis can be distinguished from O. huillensis subsp. discolor by a larger tree habit (single-stemmed and up to 6 m high) leaves that are discolorous, broadly elliptic, 27 – 39 mm wide and a particularly rounded to cuneate base. This contrasts with subsp. discolor that has a shrubby habit, though up to 3 m high leaves that are narrow, 21 – 34 mm wide with an assymetrical cuneate base. Olinia ruandensis is likely to be confused with O. huillensis subsp. discolor based on bracts and floral features. The two are sympatric in Tanzania and population level data is desirable.
Type: Rwanda, Rugege-Wald, Mildbraed 1027 (holotype B† isotype K!).

Native to:

Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaïre

Olinia ruandensis Gilg appears in other Kew resources:

First published in G.W.J.Mildbraed (ed.), Wiss. Erg. Deut. Zentr.-Afr. Exped., Bot. 2: 575 (1913)

Accepted by

  • Sebola, R.J. & Balkwill, K. (2009). Numerical phenic analysis of Olinia rochetiana sensul lato (Oliniaceae). Kew Bulletin 64: 95-121. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Sebola, R.J. & Balkwill, K. (2013). A monographic study of the Oliniaceae. Kew Bulletin 68: 419-456. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Not accepted by

  • Launert, E. (ed.) (1978). Flora Zambesiaca 4: 1-658. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Cited as Olinia rochetiana.]


Kew Bulletin

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Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Sebola, R.J. & Balkwill, K. (2009). Numerical phenic analysis of Olinia rochetiana sensul lato (Oliniaceae). Kew Bulletin 64: 95-121. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

  • 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.

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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 and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.