Coleus Lour.

Coleus schliebenii (Mildbr.) A.J.Paton

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


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. Pycnostachys, G Bramleyshaped. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2009

Type: Tanzania, Njombe District: Lupembe, Schlieben 713 (B†, holo. BR!, Z!, iso., K!, fragment)
Morphology General Habit
Shrub 1–2 m tall, apex herbaceous
Morphology Stem
Stems erect, branching, quadrangular, or rounded-quadrangular where woodier, pubescent with short adpressed eglandular hairs and red sessile glands
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite, petiolate; blades narrowly ovate 5.5–12 × 1.8–5 cm, serrate, apex acute to shortly acuminate, base cuneate and then shortly attenuate, the upper surface pubescent, the lower surface pubescent and with red sessile glands; petiole 10–35 mm long, pubescent and with red sessile glands
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence dense, when in flower forming a conical shape, in fruit 25–45 × 20 mm; bracts subtending entire inflorescence narrowly ovate, 10–35 mm long, acute, enclosing buds then becoming deflexed in flower, pubescent, persistent through flowering stage; bracts subtending single flowers linear, 4–5 mm long, pubescent and with red sessile glands
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx with tube ± 1 mm long at anthesis, outer surface densely clad with red sessile glands, inner surface with 0.5 mm long triangular scales present between calyx lobes, these with very short eglandular hairs above, the inner surface of the tube with eglandular hairs between the lobes and beneath the scales; lobes 5, subulate and ± equal, 2.5–3 mm long, with occasional very short glandular hairs, also with scattered red sessile glands; fruiting calyx with tube 3.5–4.5 mm long, ventrally gibbous, lobes patent and recurved, becoming thicker and more rigid, 5–6 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla blue to purple, 12–13 mm long; tube ± glabrous, with red sessile glands, very narrow and parallel-sided for 6 mm, then curving sharply downwards and broadening for 2 mm before opening out into two lips; posterior lip shorter than anterior, 1–1.5 mm long, sometimes with eglandular hair; anterior lip 5–6 mm long, 1.5–2 mm deep, sometimes with eglandular hair on the front of the lip
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens connate for ± 1.5 mm, exserted for 1–2 mm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets ± 2 mm long.
Forest edges, upland grassland and swampy glades; 1500–2200 m
Least concern; widely distributed
Pycnostachys schliebenii is characterised by its calyx which is densely clad in red sessile glands; its largish corolla from which the stamens are exserted a little way; a bluntly tipped inflorescence, and narrowly ovate, serrate leaves with an attenuate base, all of which distinguish it from P. goetzenii. There is variation in the indumentum of the calyx lobes, as some specimens have short glandular hairs and others do not. This does not appear to correlate with geography or habitat so these specimens have been included here. In addition, the indumentum of the corolla can vary: the corolla can be almost glabrous or with hair on the posterior and anterior lips (e.g. Milne-Redhead & Taylor 10504, cited above).
Range: Congo-Kinshasa, Burundi, Zambia and Malawi Flora districts: T6 T7 T8

Native to:

Burundi, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaïre

Coleus schliebenii (Mildbr.) A.J.Paton appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jan 1, 2011 Gereau, R.E. et al [7213], Tanzania Pycnostachys schliebenii K000735361
Oct 2, 2006 Festo [1861], Tanzania Pycnostachys schliebenii K000194881
Oct 2, 2006 Mwangoka [3880], Tanzania Pycnostachys schliebenii K000194882
Oct 2, 2006 Gereau [6740], Tanzania Pycnostachys schliebenii K000194883
Mar 1, 1939 Whyte, A. [s.n.], Malawi Pycnostachys schliebenii K000406004 Unknown type material
Schlieben [713], Tanzania Pycnostachys schliebenii K000405738 Unknown type material
Whyte, A. [s.n.], Malawi Pycnostachys schliebenii K000406005 Unknown type material

First published in PhytoKeys 129: 92 (2019)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. Scientific Data 8: 215.


Kew Backbone Distributions

  • 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.

  • 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 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.