Colophospermum mopane (Benth.) J. Léonard

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Colophospermum mopane

Photo: Bart Wursten
Hot Springs, Save valley

Colophospermum mopane

Photo: Bart Wursten
On path to campsite, Sinamatella, Hwange NP

Colophospermum mopane

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near the viewing platform, Masuma Dam, Hwange NP

Colophospermum mopane

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near the viewing platform, Masuma Dam, Hwange NP

Colophospermum mopane

Photo: Bart Wursten
Kwaramba School, Svisvi, Gokwe District.

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

Synonyms: Copaifera mopane J. Kirk ex Benth.
Hardwickia mopane (J. Kirk ex Benth.) Breteler
Common names: Mopane (English) Mopani (English) Turpentine tree (English)
Status: Native
Small to medium-sized deciduous tree of hot low altitudes. Leaves 2-foliolate; leaflets asymmetric, up to 9 × 5 cm with several veins from the base. A terminal appendage may be present between the leaflets. Inflorescence. up to 7 cm. Flowers greenish. Sepals 4, 2 outer ± 6 × 5 mm, 2 inner ± 5.5 × 4.5 mm, ± reflexed in flower; petals absent; filaments long (up to 6 mm), exserted. Pod 3.5-6 × 2-3.2 cm. Seed ± 2.5 × 1.4 cm.
Derivation of specific name: mopane: from the local name in Setswana and many other languages in Southern Africa.
Habitat: Forms stands at lower and mid altitudes of often small to medium-sized trees or thickets of low shrubs; an indicator of low rainfall and shallow poorly-drained Sodium-rich soils.
Altitude range: Up to 1350 m
Flowering time:Oct - Mar (flowering erratic)
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Limpopo, South Africa, just entering northern Mpumalanga.
Malawi distribution: N,S
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Gonimbrasia belina (Larval foodplant)
Gynanisa maja (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Brummitt, R.K., Chikuni, A.C., Lock, J.M. & Polhill, R.M. (2007). Leguminosae Subfamily Caesalpinioideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(2) Pages 36 - 39. (Includes a picture).

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 253. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 9.

Coates Palgrave, K. et al. (1956). Trees of Central Africa National Publications Trust, Salisbury. Pages 101 - 106. (Includes a picture).

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Pages 202 - 203. (Includes a picture).

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 60.

Drummond, R.B. (1972). A list of Rhodesian Legumes. Kirkia 8(2) Page 213.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 242.

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 253. (Includes a picture).

Mannheimer, C. & Curtis B. (2009). Le Roux and Müller's Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of Namibia Macmillan Education, Windhoek, Namibia. Pages 138 - 139. (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 43.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 53.

Roodt, V. (1998). Trees and Shrubs of the Okavango Delta Shell Field Guide Series: Part I Shell Oil Botswana, Gaberone. Pages 122 - 125. (Includes a picture).

Schmidt, E., Lötter, M. & McCleland, W. (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park Jacana, Johannesburg, South Africa Pages 184 - 186. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 63.

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 21. as Copaifera mopane

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 209.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (1997). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik, South Africa Pages 378 - 379. (Includes a picture).

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. (2013). Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa (Second edition) Struik, South Africa Pages 440 - 441. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Colophospermum mopane:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Colophospermum mopane
Flora of Caprivi: Colophospermum mopane
Flora of Mozambique: Colophospermum mopane
Flora of Zambia: Colophospermum mopane
Flora of Zimbabwe: Colophospermum mopane

External websites:

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

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: Colophospermum mopane., retrieved 15 July 2024

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