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Woody perennial or small shrub, up to 2 m tall but usually smaller. Stems and branches 4-angled, with more or less appressed, tubercle-based hairs mixed with sessile glands. Leaves usually opposite, rarely 3-whorled, ovate, ovate-oblong or lanceolate, up to 7 cm long, rounded at the base and cuneate into the petiole, with whitish tubercle-based hairs above, becoming rough with age, covered in short stiff hairs beneath, mixed with minute reddish sessile glands; venation impressed above giving the leaf a wrinkled look; margin shallowly crenate. Inflorescences solitary in the leaf axils on peduncles mostly at least half as long as the subtending leaf, sometimes longer than the leaf, particularly in fruit. Spikes subspherical to ovoid, up to 2 cm long when flowering, extending to 3 cm in fruit. Floral bracts broadly ovate to ovate-lanceolate, up to 7.5 mm long, green, appressed hairy mixed with reddish sessile glands; veining becoming somewhat more prominent in fruiting spikes; margin revolute in the upper half. Corollas pale rose, lilac to reddish-purple or violet with a yellow throat, rarely white. Drupes 2.5-3.5 mm long,purple to wine-coloured when ripe.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings

Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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