Cladostemon kirkii (Oliv.) Pax & Gilg

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Cladostemon kirkii

Photo: Darrel Plowes
Dott's Drift, Chisumbanje, Save Valley

Cladostemon kirkii

Photo: Darrel Plowes
Dott's Drift, Chisumbanje, Save Valley

Cladostemon kirkii

Photo: Bart Wursten
Tembwahata pans, Gonarezhou National Park.

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Synonyms: Cladostemon paxianus Gilg
Common names: Three-finger bush (English) Tonga-kierie (English)
Status: Native
Shrub or small tree. Leaves 3-foliolate with ovate to obovate leaflets, shiny green, thinly textured. Flowers in terminal or axillary, branched inflorescences, white with pink veins, turning yellow with age, sweetly scented, distinctly asymmetric with 2 upper petals much larger than the lower; stamens fused to form a structure up to 15 cm long. Fruit conspicuous c. 8 cm, pendulous on a long, sharply bent, jointed stalk.
Derivation of specific name: kirkii: named after Dr John Kirk, who accompanied David Livingstone on his Zambezi expedition of 1858
Habitat: In open woodland and scrub in hot areas, often on sandy soils.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:Sep - Nov
Worldwide distribution: Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Malawi distribution: S
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 154. (Includes a picture).

Coates Palgrave, K. (revised and updated by Meg Coates Palgrave) (2002). Trees of Southern Africa 3rd edition. Struik, South Africa Pages 221 - 222.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 41.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 237.

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 32.

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 24.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 65.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 384 - 385. (Includes a picture).

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (2013). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa (Second edition) Struik, South Africa Pages 446 - 447. (Includes a picture).

Wild, H. (1960). Capparaceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(1) Pages 211 - 213. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Cladostemon kirkii:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Cladostemon kirkii
Flora of Zambia: Cladostemon kirkii
Flora of Zimbabwe: Cladostemon kirkii

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Cladostemon kirkii
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Cladostemon kirkii
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Cladostemon kirkii
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Cladostemon kirkii
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Cladostemon kirkii
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Cladostemon kirkii
JSTOR Plant Science: Cladostemon kirkii
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Cladostemon kirkii
Plants of the World Online: Cladostemon kirkii
Tropicos: Cladostemon kirkii
Wikipedia: Cladostemon kirkii

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Species information: Cladostemon kirkii., retrieved 15 July 2024

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