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This species is accepted, and its native range is Central DR Congo.


Cheek, M. & Haba, P. 2016. Spiny African Allophylus (Sapindaceae): a synopsis. Kew Bulletin 71: 57. DOI 10.1007/S12225-016-9672-3

Previously (Cheek in Onana & Cheek 2011) Allophylus hamatus was assessed as Vulnerable. However, this was based on the species concept of Fouilloy & Hallé (1973), which united the DRC material with that from Cameroon which is described below as A. bertoua.

Allophylus hamatus was recorded from nine different locations in District Forestier Central (sensu Flore Du Congo Belge et de Ruanda-Urundi, e.g. Hauman 1960) in 1958 equating to an area of occupancy (IUCN 2012) of 36 km2, using the IUCN preferred 4 km2 grid cells, therefore it nearly qualifies as Vulnerable under Criterion B, although it seems quite feasible that additional locations in the sense of IUCN might come to light since its habitat is quite widespread, although probably under-explored, in DRC. However since no threats are currently known, nor is there any evidence of habitat degradation, this species cannot be assessed as threatened on the data currently available. Therefore it is here assessed as Near Threatened, since should threats materialise or come to light it would merit reassessment, probably as Vulnerable.

Democratic Republic of Congo, District Forestier Central.
Swamp forest along rivers, c. 400 – 500 m asl.
Allophylus hamatus was the first discovered spiny species of Allophylus. Its name has been applied to the other spiny species, A. bertoua and A. samoritourei, but not A. ujori. It is unique in the genus, indeed in Sapindaceae in being a liana with hooked spines. Allophylus hamatus was first collected in May 1919 at Eala by Mr F. Vermoesen, Head of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium who discovered that it was new to science, and who named it, but who died without publishing it in 1922 (Hauman 1958). By the time that Hauman, tasked with writing the Sapindaceae treatment for the then Flore du Congo Belge et du Ruanda-Urundi, published it (Hauman 1960), 13 specimens from nine different localities had been accumulated. All but one of these specimens, where there is an indication of habit and habitat, indicate a spiny liana of swampy and/or riverine forest. A single specimen, Corbisier-Baland 1585, instead refers to a small tree rather than a liana, but this is presumably an error of observation by the collector, or more likely, a presumption, since every Allophylus species encountered in Africa by even a long-experienced botanist is indeed likely to be a small tree. The epithet “hamatus” refers to the spines of the stems. Allophylus hamatus is distinguished by being a liana (most African Allophylus are shrubs or trees) and in having short, recurved spines (unique in the genus).
Type: Democratic Republic of Congo, Distr. Forestier Central, “Eala-Equateur”, fl. 16 May 1919, Vermoesen 2259 (holotype BR 897767 image!; isotype P 00355348 image!).
BOBIÉBIÉ (Eala language fide Corbisier-Baland 1585); BASASO-BASASO BA BOLIKI (Turumbu language, fide Louis 16116); EDIDINA LIBA (Dundusana language, fide De Giorgi 1108); SALANYAKA (Ngwala language, fide Evrard 1776).

The uses, if any, are unknown.

Native to:


Allophylus hamatus Verm. ex Hauman appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Bull. Jard. Bot. État Bruxelles 28: 95 (1958)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 529. MIM, Deurne.
  • Lejoy, J., Ndjele, M.-B. & Geerinck, D. (2010). Catalogue-flore des plantes vasculaires des districts de Kisangani et de la Tshopo (RD Congo) Taxonomania 30: 1-307.
  • Robyns, W. & al. (eds.) (1948-1963). Flore du Congo Belge et du Ruanda-Urundi 1-10.


Kew Bulletin

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  • Beentje, H. J. & Cheek, M. (2003). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Glossary. Balkema, Lisse.
  • Buerki, S., Lowry, P. P., Alvarez, N., Razafimandimbison, S. G., Küpfer, P. & Callmander, M. W. (2010). Phylogeny and circumscription of Sapindaceae revisited: molecular sequence data, morphology and biogeography support recognition of a new family, Xanthoceraceae. Pl. Ecol. Evol. 143(2): 148 – 159. doi: 10.5091/plecevo.2010.437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  • Onana, J.-M. (2011). The Vascular Plants of Cameroon. A Taxonomic Checklist with IUCN Assessments. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Phillips, S. M. & Mesterházy, A. (2015). Revision of small ephemeral species of Eriocaulon (Eriocaulaceae) in West Africa with long involucral bracts. Kew Bull. 70: 5. doi: 10.1007/s12225-014-9557-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  • non sensu Fouilloy & Hallé (1973: 42, plate 7: 11 – 14, p. 41) quae est A. bertoua Cheek (species 4 of this paper).
  • van der Burgt, X. M., Haba, P. K., Haba, P. M. & Goman, A. S. (2012). Eriosema triformum (Leguminosae: Papilionoideae), a new unifoliolate species from Guines, West Africa. Kew Bull. 67: 263 – 271. doi: 10.1007/s12225-012-9357-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© 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 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.