Notes on Commicarpus Standl. in southern Africa, including a new record for Namibia

Publication Year:

The key has facilitated the re-identifi cation of large-fruited Commicarpus specimens collected from Namibia. We have identifi ed these specimens as Commicarpus helenae (Roem. & Schult.) Meikle var. helenae, a variety with a wide distribution from the Middle East into Africa, which also occurs on the islands of the Canaries, Cape Verde and the type locality, St Helena. In the Flora of southern African (FSA) region, it was hitherto only known from Botswana and the Limpopo Province of South Africa and was not considered to occur in Namibia. In southern Africa, the taxon has been regarded as of limited occurrence, as the circumscription of Commicarpus helenae var. helenae has generally been misunderstood. Based on anthocarp structure, we can confi rm that many southern African specimens of C. helenae var. helenae have been misidentifi ed and erroneously placed under C. fallacissimus (Heimerl) Heimerl ex Oberm., Schweick. & I.Verd., C. pentandrus (Burch.) Heimerl, C. pilosus (Heimerl) Meikle, C. plumbagineus (Cav.) Standl. var. plumbagineus and C. squarrosus (Heimerl) Standl. Especially the misidentifi cations as C. fallacissimus, C. pilosus or C. squarrosus can be ascribed to the semisucculent leaves and growth form that these taxa share with C. helenae but the anthocarps differ considerably in shape and gland characters. As a result, the distribution patterns of these taxa in the FSA region have also been misinterpreted. We can therefore confirm the presence of Commicarpus helenae var. helenae in Namibia based on the anthocarp structure of the specimens being most similar to what is generally regarded as typical for the species.

Publication Title:


Item Type:
Journal Article