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This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & Subtropical Old World.


Harley, R.M. et al. (2004). Labiatae, in The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants (K. Kubitzki, ed. in chief) VI: 167-275. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.

Morphology General Habit
Herbs or shrubs, aromatic
Morphology Leaves
Leaves simple
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence thyrsoid, often condensed, elongate or capitulate, with cymes sessile, usually 5-10-flowered, condensed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Bracts caducous or persistent, sometimes coloured at apex or membranous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx tubular, ventrally gibbous, slightly compressed at throat, straight or curved slightly upwards, sometimes apically deflexed, strongly 2-lipped, 5-lobed (1/4), unequal, posterior lip oblong or lanceolate, not decurrent, deflexed at throat, sometimes
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla strongly 2-lipped, 5-lobed (4/1), blue or purplish, posterior lip ascending with median lobes exceeding lateral, anterior lip horizontal, cucullate; tube narrow, parallel-sided at base, curved or straight at the base, curved and dilating distally
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 4, fused at base, held over or within lower lip
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigma-lobes linear, often parallel
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Disc
Disc 4-lobed with anterior lobe much larger, exceeding ovaries
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets, ovoid, glabrous, flattened, mucilaginous.
Five to six species in Western and Southern Tropical Africa.

Native to:

Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Benin, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Botswana, Burkina, Burundi, Cabinda, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Caprivi Strip, Central African Repu, Chad, China South-Central, China Southeast, Congo, Cook Is., Djibouti, East Himalaya, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Free State, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Hawaii, India, Ivory Coast, Jawa, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaya, Maldives, Mali, Maluku, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Oman, Philippines, Queensland, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Socotra, Solomon Is., Somalia, South Australia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Tubuai Is., Uganda, Vanuatu, Victoria, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Western Australia, Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Extinct in:

Norfolk Is.

Introduced into:

Belize, Bolivia, Brazil Northeast, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Florida, Galápagos, Gilbert Is., Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Leeward Is., Marquesas, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Nicaragua, Niue, Panamá, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Seychelles, Society Is., St.Helena, Tokelau-Manihiki, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Wallis-Futuna Is., Windward Is.

Coleus Lour. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Carr, C.E. [12041], Papua New Guinea K000897961
Milne-Redhead, E. [3976], Angola 73048.000
Brass, L.J. [30360], Papua New Guinea K000897960
Brass, L.J. [32712], Papua New Guinea K000897964
Brass, L.J. [29648], Papua New Guinea K000897965
Womersley, J.S. [6176], Papua New Guinea K000897955
H. [6895], Kenya 60216.000
Schodde, R. [2875], Papua New Guinea K000897962
McKee, H.S. [1513], Papua New Guinea K000897966
McKee, H.S. [1738], Indonesia K000897967
Kanis, A. [1343], Papua New Guinea K000897971
White, K.J. [NGF10183], Papua New Guinea K000897963
Wight, R. [Cat. no. s.n.], Tamil Nadu K001132515
Vandenberg, J. [NGF35005], Papua New Guinea K000897956
Henty, E.E. [NGF9853], Papua New Guinea K000897968
Kostermans, A. [567], Indonesia K000897957
Kostermans, A. [18636], Indonesia K000897699
Kostermans, A. [759], Indonesia K000897700
Giulianetti, A. [s.n.], Papua New Guinea K000897969
Flenley, J.R. [ANU2074], Papua New Guinea K000897951
Buderus, J. [NGF20745], Papua New Guinea K000897950
Eyma, P.J. [3422], Indonesia K000897697
Barker, W.R. [LAE67612], Papua New Guinea K000897958
Bateson, G. [52], Papua New Guinea K000897953
Bateson, G. [113], Papua New Guinea K000897954
Gebo, A. [1605], Papua New Guinea K000897970
Sigin, G. [107204], Malaysia K000897698
Bulmer, R.N.H. [103677], Papua New Guinea K000897959
Peckel, G. [8], Papua New Guinea K000897952
Frodin, D. [NGF28419], Papua New Guinea K000897972
Dagong bin Bakir [2745], Malaysia K000897701

First published in Fl. Cochinch.: 372 (1790)

Accepted by

  • Paton, A.J., Mwanyambo, M. Govaerts, R.H.A., Smitha, K., Suddee, S., Phillipson, P.B., Wilson, T.C., Forster, P.I. & Culham, A. (2019). Nomenclatural changes in Coleus and Plectranthus (Lamiaceae): A tale of more than two genera PhytoKeys 129: 1-158.

Not accepted by

  • Paton, A.J., Bramley, G., Ryding, O., Polhill, R.M., Harvey, Y.B., Iwarsson, M., Otieno, D., Balkwill, K., Phillipson, P.B., Harley, R.M. & Willis, F. (2013). Flora Zambesiaca 8(8): 1-346. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Cited as Plectranthus.]
  • 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. [Cited as Plectranthus.]
  • Thulin, M. (ed.) (2006). Flora of Somalia 3: 1-626. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Cited as Plectranthus.]
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Cited as Plectranthus.]
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne. [Cited as Plectranthus.]

Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

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

Lamiaceae Key Genus Fact Sheets
Nina Davies, Gemma Bramley and Don Kirkup, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew