Mitracarpus hirtus (L.) DC.

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Mitracarpus hirtus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Yangambi, DRC © National Botanic Garden of Belgium

Mitracarpus hirtus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Yangambi, DRC © National Botanic Garden of Belgium

Mitracarpus hirtus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Yangambi, DRC © National Botanic Garden of Belgium

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

Synonyms: Mitracarpus scaber Zucc.
Mitracarpus verticillatus (Schumach. & Thonn.) Vatke
Mitracarpus villosus (Sw.) DC.
Spermacoce hirta L.
Spermacoce villosa Sw.
Staurospermum verticillatum Schumach & Thonn.
Common names:
Status: Native
Erect or spreading annual herb up to 40 cm tall; branchlets pubescent with short curled more or less appressed hairs and often with spreading ones as well. Leaves elliptic, 1–6 cm long, scabrid-pubescent above often only when young, mostly hairless beneath except for hairs on the main veins; margins often scabrid; petiole c. 1 mm long, often densely pubescent and with ciliate margins; stipule sheath 1–3 mm long, divided into 6–9(15) fimbriae, 1–5 mm long, ciliate. Inflorescences numerous, present in most axils, subglobose, up to 1.8 cm in diameter; flowers sessile or almost so; bracteoles white, 1–2 mm long. Calyx with 4 lobes, 2 narrower than the others, all with usually ciliate margins and often hairy below. Corolla white, hairless or slightly hairy outside; tube 1.4–1.9 mm long; lobes ovate, c. 1 mm long. Capsule straw-coloured, c. 1 mm long and wide.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: A weed of disturbed areas and road sides, by dambos and on dry rocky hills.
Altitude range: 500 - 1200 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropical Africa as far South as Angola, northern Zambia and Malawi. Also in Seychelles, Cape Verde Islands, India,Burma, New Guinea, Marianas Islands, West Indies and tropical South America.
Malawi distribution: N
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Saturday 6 September 2014

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 89.

Verdcourt, B. (1988). Rubiaceae, Part 1 Flora Zambesiaca 5(1) Pages 188 - 190. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Mitracarpus hirtus:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Mitracarpus hirtus
Flora of Zambia: Mitracarpus hirtus

External websites:

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

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: Mitracarpus hirtus., retrieved 2 December 2023

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