Vigna phoenix Brummitt

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Vigna phoenix

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zovo Chipolo Trail, Nyika National Park

Vigna phoenix

Photo: Bart Wursten
Zovo Chipolo Trail, Nyika National Park

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Synonyms: Vigna pygmaea R.E. Fr. var. grandiflora Verdc.
Common names:
Status: Native
Pyrophytic perennial. Stem pubescent, up to 30 cm high, growing from an carrot-shaped woody rootstock 3–10 mm thick. Leaves appearing after flowering, 3-foliolate; leaflets 3–7 cm long, 2–2.5 cm wide, with spreading hairs; petiole 4.5–5.5 cm long; stipules 7–18 mm long, slightly bilobed at the base. Peduncle 4–13 cm long, pubescent. Flower pink to purple. Calyx pubescent; tube c. 3 mm long; lobes 2.5–5 mm long. Standard with 2 parallel widely spaced appendages; keel without a beak, slightly twisted towards the left. Ovary 12–15-ovuled. Pod linear-cylindrical, 20–40 mm long, pubescent, with a curved beak.
Notes: This species is very similar to the more widespread Vigna pygmaea. It has slightly larger flowers that are usually a bright pink to purple instead of mauve to violet and a more pubescent peduncle but can only reliably be distinguished by the number of ovules in the ovary which is 8-11 in V. pygmaea and 12-15 in this species.
Derivation of specific name: phoenix: a Greek mythological bird that would die in flames and arise again from its ashes, referring to the pyrophytic nature of this plant.
Habitat: Seasonally burnt grassland or woodland.
Altitude range: 1000 - 2500 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.
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: Wednesday 30 October 2019

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 171.

Mackinder, B. et al. (2001). Papilionoideae Flora Zambesiaca 3(5) Page 136.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 66.

Other sources of information about Vigna phoenix:

Our websites:

Flora of Zambia: Vigna phoenix

External websites:

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

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: Vigna phoenix., retrieved 22 April 2024

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