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This species is accepted, and its native range is Kenya to S. Tropical Africa.
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: Tanzania, Bukoba District: Karagwe, Ngaramo, Stuhlmann 1630 (B†, holo. K!, fragment)
Morphology General Habit
Annual or short-lived perennial herb, 0.5–3 m tall, becoming woody below
Morphology Stem
Stems erect, branching, basal part often creeping and rooting, quadrangular, or roundedquadrangular where woodier, pubescent with short appressed eglandular hairs and scattered red sessile glands
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite, sessile or shortly petiolate; blades linear to very narrowly elliptic, 4.5–16 × 0.4–2.2 cm, often folded and drooping, shallowly serrate, apex acute to acuminate, base cuneate to long-attenuate on petiole, punctate with yellow and red sessile glands and pubescent to sparsely pubescent with short eglandular hairs, the hairs more plentiful and appressed on margins and venation beneath; the venation distinct, midrib often very prominent, lateral vein pairs arising from the midrib at an angle slightly less than 90°, often joining an intramarginal vein ± 1 mm from the leaf margin; petiole (when present) up to 15 mm long, but base long-attenuate in these cases
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence dense, when in flower forming a shortly conical shape, in fruit 22–45 × 13–23 mm; bracts subtending entire inflorescence linear-lanceolate, 5–12 mm long, acute, becoming deflexed in flower, pubescent and ciliate, persistent through flowering stage; bracts subtending single flowers linear, 4–5 mm long, pubescent and ciliate with short eglandular hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx with tube ± 1 mm long at anthesis, outer surface with eglandular hairs and red and yellow sessile glands, inner surface with 0.5 mm long triangular scales present between calyx lobes, these with longer eglandular hairs; lobes 5, subulate, 1.5–3 mm long, with very short glandular hairs and longer eglandular hairs; fruiting calyx with tube 4–5 mm long, ventrally gibbous, lobes erect, slightly recurved, becoming thicker and more rigid, 3–5 (9–10) mm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla pale or bright blue, 10–15 (18–20) mm long, pubescent with eglandular hairs, also with red and yellow sessile glands; tube very narrow and parallel-sided for 3–5 mm, then curving sharply downwards and broadening for 3–4 mm before opening out into two lips; posterior lip shorter than anterior, 2–3 mm long, with longer eglandular hairs; anterior lip 5–10 mm long, 2–4 mm deep, with longer eglandular hairs on the front of lip
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens connate for 2–3 mm, ± enclosed or exserted for ± 1 mm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets 1–1.5 mm long.
Seasonally waterlogged or swampy grassland and swamps; 900–2350 m
Least concern; widely distributed
Pycnostachys stuhlmannii is easily recognisable, especially due to its distinct venation, long and narrow leaves and short-conical flowering inflorescence, however, there is a considerable amount of variation covered in the description given here. Leaves vary from a broader and pubescent form prevalent in Uganda and Kenya, to a more glabrous, narrower and longer form in Tanzania and the Flora Zambesiaca areas. In northern Zambia there is often a very short petiole. Sometimes the broader and pubescent leaves common in the north of the distribution have venation that is more acute than the typical form (e.g. Bidgood et al. 3909, Verdcourt 735, Gilbert & Mesfin 6522, all cited above). In addition, the presence of glandular hairs on the calyx lobes varies – they tend to be absent in Uganda and Kenya, and more typically present further south. In Tanzania there are a few collections with unusually long fruiting calyx lobes (9–10 mm not 3–5 mm), e.g. B.D. Burtt 6575, Bidgood et al. 3909 & 4810. The corolla can be atypically large (18–20 mm rather than 10–15 mm) in northern Zambia (e.g. Richards 9929). The distribution perhaps extends to K 4 on the basis of Copley in Bally 1382, which has smaller leaves (2–3 × 0.4–0.7 cm) and more acute venation than typical.
Range: Congo-Kinshasa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe Flora districts: U3 U4 K3 K ?4, K5 T1 T4 T7

Native to:

Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

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

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Dec 1, 1938 Whyte, A. [s.n.], Malawi Pycnostachys stuhlmannii K000405999 Unknown type material
Irwin, P.H. [54], Kenya Pycnostachys stuhlmannii 11403.000
Pycnostachys stuhlmannii 2779.000
Bequaert, J. [425], Congo, DRC Pycnostachys stuhlmannii K000405744 Unknown type material
Bequaert [562], Congo, DRC Pycnostachys stuhlmannii K000405745 Unknown type material
Quarré, P. [1693], Congo, DRC Pycnostachys stuhlmannii K000405746
Stuhlmann [1630], Uganda Pycnostachys stuhlmannii K000405975 Unknown type material
Bidgood, S. [5375], Tanzania Pycnostachys stuhlmannii K000190605

First published in PhytoKeys 129: 101 (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

  • Calane da Silva, M., Izdine, S. & Amuse, A.B. (2004). A Preliminary Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Mozambique: 1-184. SABONET, Pretoria.

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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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.