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This species is accepted, and its native range is S. Tanzania to E. 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

Type: Zambia, Mbuzi–Kaluza, Greenway & Trapnell 5627 (K!, holo.)
Morphology General Habit
Strongly aromatic woody shrub 1.2–2.6 m tall
Morphology Stem
Stems woody, erect, roundedquadrangular, leafless in flower, branched only at apex, pubescent with antrorse eglandular hairs, becoming glandular and eglandular, antrorse and patent in the inflorescence axis and with pale sessile glands
Morphology Leaves
Mature leaves not seen
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence lax or relatively condensed with 10–26-flowered verticils, 7–30 mm apart, with bracts subtending usually branched, circinnate, 5–13-flowered cymes; bracts ovate, cuspidate, 2–4 mm long, erect above forming an inconspicuous terminal coma, deflexed and deciduous below, uniformly pubescent or less densely so adaxially; pedicels 5–9 mm long, curving distally, slightly flattened
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 3 mm long, pubescent, with pale sessile glands; fruiting calyx 5–6 mm long, tubular, curved upwards so lobes almost forming right-angle with tube and with pedicel attaching slightly excentrically; throat truncate; posterior lip elliptic, acute or obtuse at apex, slightly curving upwards, shortly decurrent; anterior lobes lanceolate, median slightly narrower than lateral
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla pale purple or white with purple marks, 14–18 mm long, pubescent on lobes and tube, with pale sessile glands; tube 4–5 mm long, sigmoid; anterior lip 10–13 mm long, strongly cucullate, enclosing stamens or stamens just exserted
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Staminal filaments fused
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets brown shiny with reddish dots, broadly ovoid, flattened, 1.5 mm long, producing lots of mucilage speckled on outer surface.
Grassland and old cultivations; 300–800 m
Perhaps Least concern; few collections made but these are widespread and the species seems to tolerate disturbed ground; (EOO 198648 km2, 4 collections from 4 localities; AOO 46183km2 with cell width 107 km, number of cells 4, 3 subpopulations based on adjacent cells; 1 subpopulation based on Rapoport distance)
Greenway & Trapnell 5627 from Zambia records tuberous roots that are eaten. Related to P. buchananii, from which it differs in being a shrub, having shorter pedicels, and shorter, more strongly curved calyx. Differs from P. decimus in being leafless when flowering, having a more branched inflorescence, having a shorter, more strongly curved calyx and paler corollas which have a sigmoid bend.
Range: E Zambia Flora districts: T4 T8

Native to:

Tanzania, Zambia

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

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Greenway, P.J. [5627], Zambia Plectranthus penicillatus K000431999 holotype

First published in PhytoKeys 129: 82 (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.

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.