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This species is accepted, and its native range is Kenya to N. Tanzania.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


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: Kenya, Teita District: Ndara, Hildebrandt 2424 (B†, holo.)
Morphology General Habit
Perennial herb, 0.5–3 m tall, becoming woody below
Morphology Stem
Stems often semi-scandent in other vegetation, branching, quadrangular or rounded-quadrangular where woodier, downward-pointing eglandular hairs on younger growth, immediately below inflorescence and inflorescence axis densely pubescent with eglandular and glandular hairs, also with red sessile glands
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite, petiolate; blades narrowly ovate to ovate to elliptic, 4–13(–19) × 3.5–8(–10) cm, crenate or crenate-dentate, apex acuminate, base cuneate to truncate and often shortly attenuate, with red sessile glands and pubescent with scattered short eglandular hairs, the hairs denser on margins and venation; petiole 2–5.5(–7) cm long, pubescent and with red sessile glands
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence lax with up to 2–3 mm between cymes when flowers mature; peduncles ± 1 mm long, these with glandular hairs; bracts subtending entire inflorescence ovate, 30–35 mm long, acuminate, pubescent with short eglandular hairs, not usually persistent through flowering stage; bracts subtending single flowers linear, 3–4 mm long, pubescent with glandular hairs, ciliate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx with tube 1–1.5 mm long at anthesis, outer surface with dense eglandular hairs and sometimes scattered glandular hairs and with red sessile glands, inner surface with a dense ring of long upward pointing eglandular hairs behind the calyx lobes; lobes 5, subulate, slightly inrolled at the margins, 4–6 mm long, usually with glandular hairs or rarely only eglandular hairs or both; fruiting calyx with tube 3.5–4 mm long, ventrally gibbous, lobes ± patent, 5–7 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla blue to purple, 10–18 mm long; tube ± glabrous with red sessile glands, very narrow and parallel-sided for 6–7 mm, then curving sharply downwards and broadening into two lips; posterior lip shorter than anterior ± 5 mm long, backs of lobes with scattered eglandular hairs and/or glandular hairs and sessile glands; anterior lip ± 9 mm long, 4–5 mm deep, with scattered eglandular and/or glandular hairs and red sessile glands on the front of the lip
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens connate for ± 2 mm, barely exserted
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets 1–1.5 mm long
Fig 66: 8–12, p 405
Deciduous woodland and bushland, riverine associations; used for making hedges; 400–2200 m
CONSESRVATION NOTES. Least concern: quite widely distributed in Kenya and northern Tanzania and also introduced around homesteads.
Recognised chiefly because of its lax inflorescence, Pycnostachys umbrosa could be suggested to be the species that links Pycnostachys to Plectranthus, with which it shares this character. In all other species of Pycnostachys, the inflorescence is dense and congested, making it normally impossible to see the inflorescence axis. Pycnostachys umbrosa is somewhat variable in calyx indumentum: specimens from T 3 usually have eglandular hairs on inflorescence axis and calyx lobes, specimens from Kenya usually have glandular hairs, specimens from T 2 often mixed. Its semi-scandent habit is also quite distinct.
Range: Not known elsewhere Flora districts: K1 K4 K6 K7 T1 T2 T3

Native to:

Kenya, Tanzania

Coleus umbrosus Vatke appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Drummond, R.B. [2417], Tanzania Pycnostachys umbrosa 15296.000
Holst [455], Tanzania Pycnostachys umbrosa K000405737

First published in Linnaea 43: 91 (1881)

Not accepted by

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

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 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.