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Family: Acanthaceae (Black-eyed susan family)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Asterids > Euasterid I > Order: Lamiales

There are about 350 genera and 4350 species worldwide (mainly in the tropics and subtropics), with 49 genera and 424 species in southern Africa, one genus and species is naturalised, and a further 15 genera and 55 species cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

Information from Balkwill & Welman (2000), Welman (2003), Leistner (2005), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Acanthopale

Fifteen species, native to the Old World tropics, with one species, Acanthopale pubescens, native to Zimbabwe and Mozambique where it is found in the understorey of evergreen forest. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Acanthopsis

Eight species, endemic to southern Africa, occurring in arid regions.

 

Adhatoda

Many species in the Old World tropics. Two species are native to southern Africa.

 

Anisotes

Nineteen species, native to Africa, Arabian Peninsula and Madagascar. Three species are native to southern Africa.

 

Asystasia

About 70 species, native from Africa to the East Indies and Australia. Ten species are native to southern Africa.

 

Avicennia

About eight species, found in coastal mangroves lagoons worldwide. Two species native to southern Africa - Avicennia marina and Avicennia officinalis. This genus was previously placed in its own family, the Avicenniaceae, but evidence now suggests that it is part of the Acanthaceae (see Angiosperm Phylogeny Website).

 

Barleria

About 250 species, found worldwide but mainly in the tropics. Sixty-eight species are native to southern Africa, and two species are cultivated in the region.

Barleria obtusa

Blepharis

About 80 species, found from Africa and the Mediterranean to the East Indies. There are 56 species native to southern Africa.

Blepharis capensis

Brillantaisia

About 40 species, native to tropical Africa and Madagascar, with two species native to southern Africa (Zimbabwe and Mozambique) and another two species cultivated in the region.

 

Brachystephanus

Ten species, distributed across tropical Africa and Madagascar, of which one Brachystephanus africanus is native to southern Africa (Zimbabwe and Mozambique). See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Chaetacanthus

The three species are endemic to southern Africa.

 

Chorisochora

Of the three species, two are found on Socotra and one is native to southern Africa.

 

Crabbea

About 12 species of which seven are native to southern Africa.

 

Crossandra

About 50 species, native to Africa, Arabian Peninsula, India and Madagascar. Seven species are native to southern Africa, and a further two species are cultivated in the region.

Crossandra fruticulosa (Shade crossandra)

Dicliptera

About 150 species, found worldwide in warm and tropical regions. There are 20 species native to southern Africa and one species is cultivated in the region.

Duosperma

The 12 species are native to Africa, two of which occur in southern Africa.

 

Duvernoia

The two species are native to Mozambique and southern Africa.

Dyschoriste

About 65 species, occurring worldwide in tropical and warm areas. Seventeen species are native to southern Africa, and a further species is cultivated in the region.

 

Ecbolium

The 22 species are found from Africa to India with three occurring in southern Africa.

 

Elytraria

About seven species, native to Africa, Asia and America, with two species native to southern Africa: Elytraria acaulis (recorded from Zimbabwe; see Flora of Zimbabwe) and Elytraria lyrata,

 

Glossochilus

The two species are endemic to southern Africa.

 

Hygrophila

A mainly tropical genus of about 100 species with 14 species native to southern Africa. 

 

Hypoestes

About 40 species, found from Africa to Asia, East Indies and Australia, with three species native to southern Africa and a further two species which are cultivated in the region.

Hypoestes aristata (Ribbon Bush)

Isoglossa

About 50 species, found in the Old World, mainly in the tropics. There are 19 species in southern Africa.

 

Justicia

About 420 species, found worldwide in warm areas. There are 30 species native to southern Africa and at least seven exotic species that are cultivated in gardens of this region.

Justicia brandegeeana (Shrimp plant)

Lepidagathis

About 100 species, found worldwide in warm and tropical areas. Five species are native to southern Africa.

 

Mackaya

The single species, Mackaya bella, is native to southern Africa.

Mackaya bella

Megalochlamys

The 10 species are native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula with four species occurring in southern Africa.

 

Mellera

The five species are native to tropical Africa, with three occurring in southern Africa.

 

Metarungia

The three species are native to Africa, two of which occur in southern Africa.

 

Mimulopsis

Thirty species, distributed in tropical Africa and Madagascar, of which one Mimulopsis solmsii is native to southern Africa (recorded from Zimbabwe).

 

Monechma

About 40 species, mainly African but also occurring in India. There are 23 species native to southern Africa.

 

Nelsonia

The five species are native to Africa, India, Australia and South America. One species, Nelsonia canescens, occurs in southern Africa.

 

Neuracanthus

About 20 species, native to Africa, and from the Arabian Peninsula to India. There is one species in southern Africa, Neuracanthus africanus.

 

Peristrophe

About 15 species, occurring from Africa to the East Indies. In southern Africa there are nine native species and one cultivated species.

 

Petalidium

About 35 species, occurring from Africa to India, with 28 species native to southern Africa.

 

Phaulopsis

About 20 species, native from Africa to India, with two species occurring in southern Africa.

 

Pseuderanthemum

About 60 species, found worldwide in the tropics. There are two species native to southern Africa - Pseuderanthemum hildebrandtii and Pseuderanthemum subviscosum (see Flora of Zimbabwe), with an additional three species cultivated in the region.

 

Pseudocalyx

The four species are native to tropical Africa and Madagascar, of which one Pseudocalyx saccatus occurs in southern Africa (recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Rhinacanthus

About 22 species, occurring from Africa to Asia, with three species native to southern Africa.

 

Ruellia

About 150 species, native to America, Africa, Asia and Australia. About 15 species in southern Africa. 

 

Ruelliopsis

There are 2-3 species, African with two species in southern Africa - Ruelliopsis damarensis and Ruelliopsis setosa (see Flora of Zimbabwe).

 

Ruspolia

The four species are native to Africa and Madagascar, three of which occur in southern Africa.

 

Ruttya

There are three species in Africa with one, Ruttya ovata, occurring in southern Africa and another species cultivated in the region.

 

Salpinctium

The three species are endemic to southern Africa.

 

Sclerochiton

About 12 species, native to Africa, with seven species occurring in southern Africa.

 

Siphonoglossa

About eight species, native to Africa and America. There are three species native to southern Africa. 

 

Strobilanthopsis

The five species are native to tropical Africa, with one Strobilanthopsis linifolia occurring in southern Africa (recorded from Zimbabwe). See Flora of Zimbabwe.

 

Thunbergia

About 100 species, native to Old World, mainly in the tropics. There are 19 species native to southern Africa, and seven cultivated. Named after Carl Thunberg who was an early botanical explorer to the the Cape. 

Genera naturalised in southern Africa

List from Flora of Zimbabwe.

Acanthus

One species is naturalised and four species are cultivated, including Acanthus mollis (Bear's breech), a common garden plant (see picture right). Acanthus pubescens occurs as a garden escape along roadsides in Harare, but this is possibly not yet sufficient for it to be classified as a naturalised species. 

Acanthus mollis (Bear's breech)

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Anisacanthus

Two species cultivated.

 

Aphelandra

Two species cultivated.

 

Blechum pyramidatum (Sornia)

Indigenous from Mexico through to South America.

 

Eranthemum

Three species cultivated.

 

Fittonia

Two species cultivated.

 

Graptophyllum

Two species cultivated.

 

Hemigraphis

One unidentified species cultivated.

 

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys

Native to Venezuela.

 

Odontonema

Two species cultivated.

 

Pachystachys

Two species cultivated.

 

Sanchezia oblonga

Native to Ecuador.

 

Strobilanthes

Two species cultivated.

 

Whitfieldia elongata

Native to tropical Africa.

 

Xantheranthemum igneum

Native to Peru.

 

Publications

  • Baden, C., Balkwill, K., Getliffe Norris, F.M., Immelman, K.L., Manning, J.C. & Munday, J. 1995. Acanthaceae: Justiciinae. Flora of southern Africa 30: 1–2, 6–10, 18–46.

  • Balkwill, K. 1995. Rhinacanthus. Flora of southern Africa 30: 11–14.

  • Balkwill, K. 1996. A sysnopsis of Peristrophe in southern Africa. Bothalia 26: 83–93.

  • Balkwill, K. & Balkwill, M.-J. 1988. Taxonomic studies in the Acanthaceae: a new species of Dicliptera. South African Journal of Botany 54: 55–59.

  • Balkwill, K., Balkwill, M.-J., Gesell, S. & Melville, K. 1994. Specific concepts in some Acanthaceae and in Becium (Labiatae). In: J.H. Seyani & A.C. Chikuni (eds), Proceedings of the 13th Plenary Meeting of AETFAT, Vol. 1: 347–358.

  • Balkwill, K., Balkwill, M.-J. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1988. Taxonomic studies in the Acanthaceae: the Peristrophe grandibracteata complex. South African Journal of Botany 54: 55–59.

  • Balkwill, K., Cadman, M.-J. [=Balkwill, M-J. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1985. Taxonomic studies in the Acanthaceae: new species of Peristrophe from the Limpopo Valley. South African Journal of Botany 51: 485–488.

  • Balkwill, K., Cadman, M.-J. [=Balkwill, M-J.] & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1986. Dicliptera fruticosa. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1933.

  • Balkwill, K., Cadman, M.-J. [=Balkwill, M-J.] & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1987. Dicliptera capensis. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1952.

  • Balkwill, K. & Cambell, G.J. 1999. Taxonomic studies in Acanthaceae: testa microsculpturing in southern African species of Thunbergia. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 131: 301–325.

  • Balkwill, K. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1985. Taxonomic studies in the Acanthaceae; the genus Hypoestes in southern Africa. South African Journal of Botany 51: 133–144.

  • Balkwill, K. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1988. Classification of the Acanthaceae: a southern African perspective. In: P. Goldblatt & P.P. Lowry II (eds), Proceedings of the 11th Plenary Meeting of AETFAT. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 25: 503–516.

  • Balkwill, K. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1989. Taxonomic studies in Acanthaceae: Persistrophe decorticans, a new species. South African Journal of Botany 55: 254–258.

  • Balkwill, K., Getliffe Norris, F.M. & Balkwill, M.-J. 1996. Systematic studies in the Acanthaceae: Dicliptera in southern Africa. Kew Bulletin 51: 1–61.

  • Balkwill, K., Getliffe Norris, F.M. & Schoonraad, E. 1986. Taxonomic studies in Acanthaceae: testa microsculpturing in southern African species of Peristrophe. South African Journal of Botany 52: 513–520.

  • Balkwill, M.-J. & Balkwill, K. 1994. Systematic studies in the Acanthaceae: Barleria: the problem of subdivision. In: J.H. Seyani & A.C. Chikuni (eds), Proceedings of the 13th Plenary Meeting of AETFAT, Vol. 2: 1257–1267.

  • Balkwill, M.-J. & Balkwill, K. 1996. Problems with generic delimitation and subdivision in a large genus, Barleria L. (Acanthaceae). In: The biodiversity of African plants. Proceedings of the 14th AETFAT Congress. Kluwer Academic Publications, Dordrecht.

  • Balkwill, M.-J. & Balkwill, K. 1997. Delimitation and infrageneric classification of Barleria (Acanthaceae). Kew Bulletin 52: 1–39.

  • Balkwill, M.-J. & Balkwill, K. 1998. A preliminary analysis of distribution patterns in a large pantropical genus, Barleria (Acanthaceae). Journal of Biogeography 25: 95–110.

  • Balkwill, M.-J., Balkwill, K. & VINCENT, P.L.D. 1990. Systematic studies in the Acanthaceae: a new species of Barleria from Natal. South African Journal of Botany 56: 571–576.

  • Balkwill, K. & Welman, W.G. 2000. Acanthaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 34-45. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

  • Balkwill, M.-J., Stalmans, M.C. & Balkwill, K. 1992. Systematic studies in the Acanthaceae: a new species of Barleria from the northeastern Transvaal, with some notes on its ecology. South African Journal of Botany 58: 286–291.

  • Champluvier, D. & Figueiredo, E. 1996. A new combination and a new name in Oreacanthus (Acanthaceae). Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 65: 413–417.

  • Clarke, C.B. 1901. Acanthaceae. Flora Capensis 5,1: 1-92.

  • Edwards, T.J. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1989. Salpinctium: a new genus of Acanthaceae in southern Africa. South African Journal of Botany 55: 6–10.

  • Edwards, T.J. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1993. Salpinctium natalense. Flowering Plants of Africa 52: t.2077.

  • Edwards, T.J. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1993. Salpinctium stenosiphon. Flowering Plants of Africa 52: t.2078.

  • Figueiredo, E. 1996. Typification troubles in the genus Brachystephanus. Acanthus 6: 3.

  • Figueiredo, E. & JURY, S. 1996. Notes on Brachystephanus (Acanthacae). Kew Bulletin 51: 753– 763.

  • Figueiredo, E. & Keith-Lucas, M. 1996. Pollen morphology of Brachystephanus (Acanthaceae). Grana 35: 65–73.

  • Getliffe Norris, F.M., Balkwill, K. & Manning, J.C. 1985. New combinations and synonyms in southern African Acanthaceae. South African Journal of Botany 51: 489.

  • Glen, H.F. 1986. Anisotes rogersii. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1926.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1984. Justicia flava. Flowering Plants of Africa 48: t.1898.

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1984. Justicia petiolaris. Flowering Plants of Africa 48: t.1897.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1985. Justicia capensis. Flowering Plants of Africa 48: t.1920.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1986. Justicia anselliana. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1932.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1986. Justicia bolusii. Flowering Plants of Africa 49: t.1931.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1986. Notes on some South African species of Justicia (Acanthaceae). Bothalia 16: 39–41.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1989. Notes on African plants: Acanthaceae—Siphonoglossa and Aulojusticia in southern Africa. Bothalia 19: 209–210.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1989. Studies in the southern African species of Justicia and Siphonoglossa (Acanthaceae): palynology. Bothalia 19: 151–156.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1990. Studies in the southern African species of Justicia and Siphonoglossa (Acanthaceae): indumentum. Bothalia 20: 61–66.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1990. Studies in the southern African species of Justicia and Siphonoglossa (Acanthaceae): seeds. Bothalia 20: 49–59.

  • Immelman, K.L. 1992. Studies in the southern African species of Justicia and Siphonoglossa (Acanthaceae): final conclusions. Bothalia 22: 171–175.

  • Leistner, O. A. 2005. Seed Plants of southern tropical Africa: families and genera. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 26.

  • Lowrey, T.K. & Crawford, D.J. 1987. Electrophoretic confirmation of the intergeneric hybrid X Ruttyruspolia (Acanthaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 158: 29–35.

  • Manning, J.C. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1985. Taxonomic studies in the Acanthaceae: a reappraisal of the genera Duvernoia and Adhatoda in southern Africa. South African Journal of Botany 51: 475–484.

  • Manning, J.C. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1995. Adhatoda. Flora of southern Africa 30: 62–64.

  • Manning, J.C. & Getliffe Norris, F.M. 1995. Duvernoia. Flora of southern Africa 30: 15–17.

  • Meyer, P.G. 1968. Acanthaceae. Prodromus einer Flora von Sόdwestafrika 130: 1-65.

  • Retief, E. & Reyneke, W.F. 1984. The genus Thunbergia in southern Africa. Bothalia 15: 107–116.

  • Vollesen, K.B. 1981. Notes on Brillantaisia pubescens (Acanthaceae) with particular reference to discontinuity in flower size. Kew Bulletin 36: 569–573.

  • Vollesen, K.B. 1989. A revision of Megalochlamys and Ecbolium (Acanthaceae: Justicieae). Kew Bulletin 44: 601–680.

  • Vollesen, K.B. 1990. The genus Crossandra on the African continent. Kew Bulletin 45: 503–534.

  • Vollesen, K.B. 1990. Notes on Crossandra Salisb. (Acanthaceae). Kew Bulletin 45: 121–135.

  • Vollesen, K.B. 1991. The identity of Asystasia striata S. Moore (Acanthaceae). Kew Bulletin 46: 729–731.

  • Vollesen, K.B. 1991. A revision of the African genus Sclerochiton (Acanthaceae: Acantheae). Kew Bulletin 46: 1–50.

  • Vollesen, K.B. 1994. Delimitation of Angkalanthus (Acanthaceae: Justcieae) and the new genus Chorisochora. Kew Bulletin 49: 469–479.

  • Vollesen, K.B. 1994. The genus Streptosiphon (Acanthaceae: Acantheae). Kew Bulletin 49: 401–407.

  • Vollesen, K.B. 1994. Taxonomy, ecology and distribution of Nelsonia (Acanthaceae) in Africa. In: J.H. Seyani & A.C. Chikuni (eds), Proceedings of the 13th Plenary Meeting of AETFAT, Vol. 1: 315–325. National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of Malawi, Zomba.

  • VOS, W. & Edwards, T.J. 1992. The genus Crossandra Salisb. (Acanthaceae) in South Africa, including a new species. South African Journal of Botany 58: 94–99.

  • Welman, W.G. 2003. Acanthaceae. In Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds), Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14: 92-106. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria. 


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