Olinia Thunb.

Olinia vanguerioides Baker f.

This species is accepted, and its native range is Zimbabwe to W. Mozambique.


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

The distribution of this species is limited to Zimbabwe where it is widespread (central, south and eastern parts and the highlands along the border with Mozambique). The number of collections in herbaria suggests great abundance in the areas of occurrence. Although there are no precise records of population numbers or information on possible habitat destruction, some labels indicate that the species is common where it was collected. Available evidence thus indicates that this species is not threatened and it is here assessed as of Least Concern (LC) under the IUCN Red List Categories.
Known only from Zimbabwe (Map 7). It is widespread in central, south and eastern Zimbabwe. Although no records exist for Mozambique, it is highly probable that it occurs there given the similarity of habitats along the Zimbabwe/Mozambique border, especially along the Chimanimani mountain range.
In crevices or among granite boulders/rocks near streams in kloof forests or on edge of relic forests solitary or often among Polysphaera, Erythroxylon, Hymenodictyon, Combretum, Ochna, Uvaria and lerodendrum evergreen thicket alt. 960 – 1200 m.
Morphology General Bark
Bark thin, grey, and finely reticulate branchlets quadrangular
Morphology General Habit
Shrubs or medium to large trees up to 10 m high
Morphology General Scales
Scales highly puberulent with soft hairs on both surfaces
Morphology Leaves
Leaves dark green on upper surface with pink-mauve tinge, light olive-green on under-surface, elliptic, coriaceous 36 – 73 × 24 – 40 mm margins inrolled Primary veins channelled above, light green Secondary veins distinctly visible on both surfaces, parallel to each other on each side of the midvein
Morphology Leaves Petiole
Petiole pink to red, pubescent, up to 4 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers 5-merous, greenish to yellow, sweetly scented
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens as for the genus
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals as for the genus Petals 5, spathulate, short, narrow and thinly textured, yellowish, glabrous on both sides apex truncate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary inferior, 3- – 5-locular style puberulent, shorter than floral tube stigma globose
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Hypanthium
Hypanthium glabrous, narrow and thin-walled galled flowers show elongate wart-like tubercles
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Pedicel
Pedicels distinct, puberulent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit globose, 5 – 7 mm in diam., whitish with circular scar at tip 2 – 4 mm wide.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence puberulent, spreading, light green and thin
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Bracts caducous, papery
Olinia vanguerioides exhibits a characteristic gall (flowers become twisted, grooved and bear numerous tubercles along elongated ridges) when flowers are infected by insect larvae compared to other species of Olinia that have their floral tubes swollen and smooth when infected (Sebola & Balkwill 2009). Having observed this condition, Verdcourt (1978) was convinced to keep O. vanguerioides as a distinct species separate from O. rochetiana. Olinia vanguerioides is often confused with O. rochetiana but can be distinguished by a distinct reticulate venation pattern on both surfaces of lamina, lateral vein pairs being 8 – 10 petal lobes that are spathulate, thinly textured and shorter than the hypanthium and a characteristic gall of the flowers.
Flowers Dec. – Feb. fruits March – June.
Type: Zimbabwe, Gazaland, Umswirizwi head-waters, 1067 m, Swynnerton 158 (holotype BM! isotypes K!, PRE!).
Zimbabwean Olinia.


Oliniaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

Very closely allied indeed to the last species (Olinia rochetiana), differing in little but the petal size.
Morphology General Habit
Tree or shrub 2·4–25 m. tall; stems often shortly densely pubescent at apex, less often quite glabrous.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves 2·7–11·5 × 1·5–4·5 cm., very much as in previous species with characteristic dark pellucid venation against the glaucous pale under-surface, elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate, very often pubescent when young particularly on the midrib both above and below; petioles often red.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers in mostly dense many-flowered inflorescences, the peduncles branched and pedicels mostly densely shortly pubescent; bracts very small.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx-tube and combined receptacle 3–6 mm. long, more or less cylindrical, narrowed to the base, mostly pale, glabrous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 1–1·5(2) mm. long, up to 0·5(1) mm. wide, yellow or white, mostly narrow, with a few hairs inside at base but scales densely pubescent so that the whole centre of the flower appears choked with hairs.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit 6 mm. in diameter, ?white, globose.

Native to:

Mozambique, Zimbabwe

Olinia vanguerioides Baker f. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 40: 72 (1911)

Accepted by

  • Launert, E. (ed.) (1978). Flora Zambesiaca 4: 1-658. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 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.


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Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Launert, E. (ed.) (1978). Flora Zambesiaca 4: 1-658. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Sebola, R.J. & Balkwill, K. (2009). Numerical phenic analysis of Olinia rochetiana sensul lato (Oliniaceae). Kew Bulletin 64: 95-121. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

  • Flora Zambesiaca

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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 Bulletin

    Kew Bulletin

  • 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.