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This species is accepted, and its native range is SW. Tanzania to N. Zambia.
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. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2009

Typus: Tanzania, Sumbawanga District: Tatanda, Mbaa Hill, Bidgood et al. 3459 (K!, holo. C, DSM, K, NHT iso.)
Morphology General Habit
Perennial herb with several stems arising from a woody rootstock, up to 1 m tall, not reported as aromatic
Morphology Stem
Stems erect, rounded-quadrangular, leafy, branching only in inflorescence, pubescent with antrorse or patent hairs and red sessile glands, also with some capitate glandular hairs on the inflorescence axis
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite or ternate, ascending, sessile blades lanceolate, 2–10 × 0.5–2 cm, serrate, weakly revolute on younger leaves, apex acute, base rounded to cordate, clasping stem, sparsely pubescent and with red sessile glands or glandular-punctate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence freely branching forming a lax panicle with flowers clustered towards the end of the ultimate branches flowers solitary in the axils of small bracts, arranged oppositely or spirally, up to 5 mm apart in fruit inflorescence axis ± straight bracts elliptic, 3 mm long, erect above forming an inconspicuous terminal coma pedicels 5–10 mm long, uniformly hairy along length, with an inconspicuous abscission zone or this lacking
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 3–5 mm long, pubescent with glandular and eglandular hairs fruiting calyx 10 mm long, tubular, slightly curved with pedicel attached excentrically behind the posterior lip throat truncate lobes ± equal, triangular but with anterior lobes slightly narrower and longer and posterior lip very slightly broader
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla pale or bright blue, 13–15 mm long tube sigmoid, 8–9 mm long posterior lip slightly shorter than anterior anterior lip 9–10 mm long, deeply cucullate, enclosing stamens, pubescent with glandular and eglandular hairs and pale sessile glands
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Staminal filaments fused anthers elongated, dorsifixed, outer edges of locules fused in lower half to form a pouch which opens distally
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Style
Style almost entire but with a small anterior depression
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets brown, broadly ellipsoid, slightly flattened, 2 mm long, smooth with darker raised areas, not producing obvious mucilage.
Open woodland among rocks or gritty soil; 1550–2400 m
Least concern; prefers open habitats, so perhaps habitat is not in decline; (EOO 17331 km2, 14 collections from 7 localities; AOO 17399.4 km2 with cell width 58.99 km, number of cells 5, 3 subpopulations based on adjacent cells; 3 subpopulations based on Rapoport distance. EOO area suggests vulnerable status, AOO suggests least concern)
P. foliatus is similar to P. baumii Gürke from South Africa and Flora Zambesiaca area. It differs from that species in having sessile lanceolate leaves rather than shortly petiolate ovate leaves when present and a straight (not terminally zig-zagging), less highly branched inflorescence axis. Differs from P. hockii in having an inconspicuous pedicel abscission zone, darker sessile glands and in usually having several leaves below the inflorescence, whereas P. hockii is usually leafless at flowering. However P. hockii can occasionally produce leaves, e.g . Paget Wilkes 931 and Perdue & Kibuwa 11343. The two species have different flowering times: P. foliatus flowering in March to early June and P. hockii flowering early in August to November. The habit is also different in that P. foliatus is a taller plant with more stems arising from the ground.
Range: Burundi and N Zambia Flora districts: T4

Native to:

Tanzania, Zambia

Coleus foliatus (A.J.Paton) A.J.Paton appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jan 1, 2006 Bidgood, S. [3459], Tanzania Plectranthus foliatus K000194844
Jan 1, 2006 Bidgood, S. [3459], Tanzania Plectranthus foliatus K000194843 holotype

First published in PhytoKeys 129: 46 (2019)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. Scientific Data 8: 215.


Kew Backbone Distributions

  • 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.

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.