Cussonia spicata Thunb.

This species is accepted, and its native range is South Sudan to S. Africa, Comoros.


Araliaceae, J. R. Tennant. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1968

Morphology General Habit
A tree up to 17 m. or more tall, unbranched or with a sparingly branched bole, bearing a crown of large digitately compound leaves.
Morphology Leaves
Petiole up to 67 cm. long and 1 cm. diameter, glabrous or minutely pubescent especially in stipular region; leaflets 6–12, sessile to petiolulate, rather coriaceous, pinnatifid to partially pinnate (fig. 2/1, 2), up to 35 cm. long by 19 cm. wide, glabrous or with a few scattered hairs; petiolules up to 8 cm. long, often narrowly winged for some distance.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Spikes pedunculate (fig. 3/3); flowering region occupying one-quarter to six-sevenths of the rhachis; floral bracts up to 3 mm. long, ciliate, inconspicuous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruits subobconical to wedge-shaped, often constricted immediately below stylopodium, up to 12 mm. long, glabrous or minutely puberulous.
Figs. 2/1, 2 (p. 9), 3/3 (p. 10).
Upland rain-forest, upland dry evergreen forest, grouped-tree grassland; 1450–2550 m.
K2 K3 K4 K6 K7 T2 T3 T5 T6 T7 T8 U1 U3


Araliaceae, J. F. M. Cannon. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

Morphology General Habit
Tree up to 17 m. high, but commonly 5–10 m., often with an unbranched trunk, but sometimes with sparse branches.
Morphology Leaves Leaflets
Leaflets 6–9(12), up to 30(35) × 15(19) cm., sessile or with distinct petiolules, coriaceous, glabrous to subglabrous; lobes very variable in outline.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves of mature trees characterized by the presence of prominent wedge-shaped decurrent wings on the petiolules (connate stipules). Leaves digitately compound (but palmate or even simple and ± entire in juvenile forms); petiole up to 50(67) cm. long, usually glabrous but sometimes slightly pubescent.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Spikes very dense, with obvious distinct peduncles and basal bracts.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers sessile, with small narrowly lanceolate floral bracts; stylopodium short.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit obconical-ellipsoid, very densely packed together and consequently faceted, up to 12 mm. long, glabrous or very slightly puberulous.

Native to:

Botswana, Cape Provinces, Comoros, Free State, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Malawi, Mozambique, Northern Provinces, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Cussonia spicata Thunb. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Gomes e Sousa, A., Mozambique 25697.000 No
Mphamba [104], Mozambique K000614312 No
Timberlake, J. [5456], Mozambique K000614437 No

First published in Nova Acta Regiae Soc. Sci. Upsal., ser. 2, 3: 212 (1780)

Accepted by

  • Calane da Silva, M., Izdine, S. & Amuse, A.B. (2004). A Preliminary Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Mozambique: 1-184. SABONET, Pretoria.
  • Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan: 1-400. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Frodin, D.G. & Govaerts, R. (2003 publ. 2004). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araliaceae: 1-444. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.
  • Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mt. Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34: 1-199.


Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Barthelat, F. (2019). La flore illustrée de Mayotte: 1-687. Biotope éditions.

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • A. Engler & O. Drude, Die Vegetation Der Erde, IX, Pflanzenwelt Afrikas 3 (2): 782–783, fig. 326/F, G (1921).
  • Battiscombe & Dale, Trees and Shrubs of Kenya Colony p. 115 (1936).
  • Bews & Aitken in Bot. Survey S. Africa, Mem. 5: 56 (1923).
  • Dale & Greenway, Kenya Trees and Shrubs p. 54, fig. 10/A (1961).
  • F. White, Forest Flora of Northern Rhodesia p. 312 (1962).
  • Gilg in Die Pflanzenwelt Ost-Afrikas und der Nachbargebiete, Theile B: 342 (1895).
  • Hiern in Flora of Tropical Africa 3: 32 (1877).
  • J.P.M. Brenan, Check-lists of the Forest Trees and Shrubs of the British Empire no. 5, part II, Tanganyika Territory p. 59 (1949).
  • Sond. in Fl. Cap. 2: 568 (1861–62).
  • Thunb. in Nov. Act. Soc. Sc. Ups. 3: 212, t. 13 (1780).
  • W.J. Eggeling, Indigenous Trees of the Uganda Protectorate, ed. 2: 34 (1952).

  • Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora Zambesiaca

  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • 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.

  • Kew Science Photographs

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