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This species is accepted, and its native range is Guinea to NW. Ivory Coast.


Phillipson, P. et al. (2019). Three species of Coleus (Lamiaceae) from the Guinean Highlands: a new species, a new combination and clarification of Coleus splendidus. Kew Bulletin 74: 24.

The extent of occurrence (EOO) of the species is estimated at 62,240 km2, which falls above the limit for Vulnerable status under Criterion B1, and its area of occupancy (AOO) is about 92 km2, which falls within the limits for Endangered status under criterion B2. Threats to Coleus splendidus occur throughout its range, for example at Dalaba in Guinea, where its ferralitic bowal habitat is being quarried for road-building material and the remainder has been demarcated for building plots (Cheek pers. obs. 2018), while in the Sula Mts of Sierra Leone, open-cast iron ore mining by the Tonkolili project is a threat (van der Burgt pers. obs. 2012). However, it is known from 17 subpopulations in Guinea and Sierra Leone, which represent at least 14 threat locations for the species, above the limit of 10 locations to qualify for Vulnerable status under Criterion B. We therefore assess C. splendidus as Near Threatened (NT).
Africa: the Guinean Highlands of Guinea, Sierra Leone and possibly also in the Ivory Coast (see note below)
Both Coleus splendidus and C. ferricola grow predominantly in high altitude ferralitic bowal habitats, but appear not to be sympatric, although both are confined to the Guinean Highlands. While C. ferricola grows predominantly on surface boulders in the Loma-Man area and on rock faces at higher altitudes on free-draining ridges, C. splendidus grows mainly in the Fouta Djalon at a lower range of altitudes on flat, impervious ferralitic surfaces. In grassland and wooded grassland, on flat rocky ferralitic bowal substrates and laterite which can become seasonally wet or waterlogged; 600 – 1200 m.
Morphology General Habit
Annual or short-lived perennial herb, 0.2 – 1 m tall, with stem arising from fibrous roots, possibly producing tubers when dormant; sometimes reported as aromatic. Stem erect, unbranched in lower half, pubescent with short retrorse and spreading eglandular, sometimes purplish hairs and sessile red glands
Morphology Leaves
Leaves petiolate; blade narrowly elliptic to narrowly ovate, 35 – 120 (– 150) mm long, 10 – 20 (– 25) mm broad, serrate, base long attenuate on petiole, apex acute, pubescent with eglandular hairs and red sessile glands; petioles 5 – 15 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens briefly exserted from the anterior corolla lip, colour unknown; filaments slightly shorter than the lip
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 3 – 5 mm long in flower, pubescent with red sessile glands; fruiting calyx 4 – 6 mm long, with pedicel attached behind posterior lip; posterior lip elliptic, shallowly curved upward, apex acute; lateral lobe oblong, apex rounded, shorter than or rarely exceeding the length of the posterior lobe; anterior lobes longer than posterior lobe, fused for most of length with two small apical teeth; teeth 0.5 – 1 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla blue to purple, 8 – 15 mm long, sparsely pubescent on lobes, red sessile glands; tube 4 – 5 (– 6) mm long, bending downwards; anterior lip 4 – 10 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Style
Style as long as the lower corolla lip, briefly exserted from the anterior corolla lip before the stamens (protogynous), colour unknown
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet brown, 1 mm long, obovoid.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence lax with 8 – 24–flowered; verticils c. 10 – 25 mm apart; cymes sessile, 4 – 12–flowered; pedicels 2 – 4 mm long; bracts shortly stalked, ovate-spathulate 4 – 5 mm long, 3.5 – 4.5 mm broad, glabrous above, puberulent below, ascending at first, caducous before anthesis, colour unknown
The only known record of Coleus splendidus from Ivory Coast is Audru 43224 (cited above). It is potentially an extreme outlier of the species, collected at Nondara, Bagoué Region, nearly 400 km to the SE of any other known locality, e.g near Kouroussa in the Kankan Region of Guinea (Pobéguin 387), which is itself somewhat of an outlier with respect to the majority of the other collections of the species, which are from Mamou Region. It is possible that this anomalous record is caused by a labelling error and therefore this data point is excluded from the conservation assessment of the species. The species should be searched for in the relevant districts of Ivory Coast and the intervening areas of Guinea. Coleus peulhorum var. violacea is placed in synonymy under C. splendidus. Typical C. peulhorum differs from both C. spendidus and C. ferricola and all other taxa that were placed in Solenostemon by Morton (1963) by having lanceolate lateral and lower calyx lobes and the lower lobes that are not fused beyond the calyx tube. Coleus splendidus is a distinctive species, differing from C. ferricola and C. rotundifolius in having longer, narrowly elliptic leaves with bases long attenuate on the petiole as discussed above. Coleus splendidus is found in wetter areas than C. ferricola, and also lacks the conspicuous perennating tubers of C. rotundifolius. Our review of this complex has enabled us to recognise C. splendidus as a distinct species with C. djalonensis A.Chev. and C. peulhorum A.Chev. var. violacea A.Chev. placed in synonymy. These names are all based on types from Fouta Djalon in Guinea (Chevalier 1909).
Republic of Guinea, Timbo, 14 – 15 Sept. 1907, fr. Chevalier 18327 (holotype P [P00454768]!; isotypes P [P00450768]!, P00442115]!).

Native to:

Guinea, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone

Coleus splendidus A.Chev. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in J. Bot. (Morot) 22: 122 (1909)

Not accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne. [Cited as Plectranthus bojeri.]
  • 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 bojeri.]

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 Bulletin
Kew Bulletin

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.