Boerhavia diffusa L.

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Boerhavia diffusa

Photo: Bart Wursten
Nr Umvumvumvu R Br. by Mutare to Birchenough Br. rd

Boerhavia diffusa

Photo: Bart Wursten
Nr Umvumvumvu R Br. by Mutare to Birchenough Br. rd

Boerhavia diffusa

Photo: Bart Wursten
Nr Umvumvumvu R Br. by Mutare to Birchenough Br. rd

Boerhavia diffusa

Photo: Mark Hyde
Borrowdale Road, near St George's

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Boerhavia adscendens Willd.
Boerhavia paniculata Rich.
Boerhavia repens L. var. diffusa (L.) Hook.f.
Common names: Tarvine (English)
Frequency: Common
Status: Possibly introduced
Spreading perennial herb. Stems decumbent or ascending, much-branched from the base, glabrous or puberulous but with longer hairs, particularly at the nodes. Leaves ovate, elliptic to subcircular, glabrous except for longer hairs on the veins below and margins. Inflorescences terminal, lax, greatly elongated and diffusely branched. Flowers usually in clusters of 2-10, whitish, pink, carmine or purple. Stamens and style c. 2 mm long, slightly exerted. Fruits c. 3.5 mm long, clavate with a rounded apex, glandular pubescent.
Notes: See B. erecta for comparison.
Derivation of specific name: diffusa: diffuse, loosely spreading, referring to the inflorescence
Habitat: A weed of disturbed places.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: A pantropical weed
Malawi distribution: N,C,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Kirby, G. (2013). Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana Struik Nature, Cape Town South Africa Page 280. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 64.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 89.

Stannard, B.L. (1988). Nyctaginaceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(1) Pages 21 - 23. (Includes a picture).

Wild, H. (1955). Common Rhodesian Weeds Government of Rhodesia, Salisbury Page 37. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Boerhavia diffusa:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Boerhavia diffusa
Flora of Caprivi: Boerhavia diffusa
Flora of Mozambique: Boerhavia diffusa
Flora of Zambia: Boerhavia diffusa
Flora of Zimbabwe: Boerhavia diffusa

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Boerhavia diffusa
African Plant Database: Boerhavia diffusa
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Boerhavia diffusa
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Boerhavia diffusa
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Boerhavia diffusa
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Boerhavia diffusa
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Boerhavia diffusa
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Boerhavia diffusa
iNaturalist: Boerhavia diffusa
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Boerhavia diffusa
JSTOR Plant Science: Boerhavia diffusa
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Boerhavia diffusa
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Boerhavia diffusa
Plants of the World Online: Boerhavia diffusa
Tropicos: Boerhavia diffusa
Wikipedia: Boerhavia diffusa

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Malawi: Species information: Boerhavia diffusa., retrieved 24 March 2023

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