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The number of small plants is amazing. Some are endemic while some occur in many African countries. Some are very choosy in the habitat, others have a wide range. To find good literature is difficult and therefore it is not easy to identify plants. Here we just list some to show families, genus and where known species. Flowers are not only interesting for botanists but can also fascinate others. Especially after rain some areas become an ocean of various flowers. Many of these seasonal plants have bulbs to survive the dry season.
 

Photos by Elvira Wolfer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PyjamaLilie
Ammocharis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After rains plants which during dry season can not be seen shoot and colour the areas. Pyjama Lily (Crimum macowanii, Family Amaryllidaceae). Widespread.

Amaryllis (Ammocharis tinneana, Family (Amaryllidaceae).
Masai Mara

 

 

 

 

Calotropis
Gomphocarpus_sp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just before you reach the entrance to Manyara National park you find beautiful
samples of Calotropis procera (Family Apocynaceae, subfamily Asclepiadoideae
. Maasais use the sap of this plant the remove hair from animal skins. When you
open the fruit capsules seeds with silky threads fall out.

Gomphocarpus fruticosus (Family Apocynaceae, subfamily Asclepiadoideae).
Over 180 species in this genus occur in Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stathmostelma rhacodes

Chlorophytum_cameroonii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subfamily Asclepiadoideae. Stathmostelma rhacodes, is a tuberous herb often found in swampy areas between 1300 and 2500 m. 10 species in EA.

Chlorophytum cameroonii, (Family Asparagaceae, subfamily
Agavoideae). Over 120 species in this subfamily grow in Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albuca bracteata Pregnant onion

Pregnant onion (Albuca bracteata). The plant has long narrow leaves and 50 - 100 flowers on top of a up to 1 m long stem. Bulbs let it endure dry spells. If indigenous to East Africa or introduced from Southern Africa is not known.
Family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloidea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maerua_sp1
Cleome_hirta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The caper family is represented by several genus in Africa. Some are small trees, others bushes or climbers. The fruits of some are edible. Maerua sp

Cleome hirta from the caper family
(Capparaceae) in Meru National park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cotton family (Malvaceae) has 200 genuses worldwide with almost 2.300 species. The most famous once are probably Hibiscus. Some are used for medicine. Most grow in grass land and can grow up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

 

 

 

 

Pavonia_urens

Hibiscus_cannabinus
Malve_gelb

 

 

 

 

Pavonia urens from Meru Natioanal park.

Hibiscus cannabinus, Meru National park

An other Malvae species from Meru National park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hibiscus_vitifolius
Abuliton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hibiscus vitifolius, Family Malvaceae

Abutilon sp.

 

 

 

A large family is the one of the Asteraceae or Compositae. In the sun flower it is best to be seen that many flowers are bound together like in a basket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compositae_gelb
Psiadia_punctulata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tithonia diversifolia (Compositae) originates from Central America is naturalised from 1500 to 2000 m.

Psiadia punctulata (Compositae) grows from 1200 -
2300 m. There are 40 species of this genus in tropical Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cirsium_vulgare
Vernonia sp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cirsium vulgare (Family Asteraceae or Compositae)

Vernonia sp (Family Asteraceae or Compositae). Aberdares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossandra_subacaulis

Crossandra_massaica

 

 

Crossandra subacaulis (Family Acanthaceae), Nairobi region

Crossandra massaica (Family Acanthaceae). 17 species of
this genus occur in East Africa. Picture from Masai Mara.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossandra sp

Heliotropium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossandra sp Nairobi region

Heliotropium sp. (Family Boraginaceae/Forget-me-not).
Photo from the Aberdares.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commelina
Murdannia simplex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commelina sp, family Commelinaceae, a family of mainly tropical herbs.

Murdannia simplex (Family Commelinaceae)
is not choosy in its habitat up to 2.100 m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sesamum
Sesamum calycinum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sesamum angolense (Family Pedaliaceae). 5 species from sea level to 2.500 m. Often numerous plant stand together.

 

Sesamum calycinum (Family Pedaliaceae) single plants in drier areas. Nairobi region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labiatae_gelb
Vigna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labiatae exist in the whole world. Mostly one petal is lip shaped and the stem quadratic. Some are strongly aromatic like pepper mint and other plants used from this family. Crotolaria sp.

 

 

Vigna sp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satureia pseudosimensis

Satureia pseudosimensis, Family Labiatae or also called Lamiaceae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leucas grandis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leucas grandis Family Labiatae or Lamiaceae. Widespread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Astripomoea_hyoscyamoides1
Windenstrauch

 

 

Astripomoea hyoscyamoides in the family of morning glories
(Convovulacae). Meru National park.

An other morning glory from Meru National park - Ipomoea spathulata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ipomoea ochracea

Ipomoea ochracea Family Convolvulacae. Occurs in different habitats in Kenya. The flower has a diameter of 2.4 - 4 cm.

The very similar Ipomoea obscura has smaller flowers (2.5 cm) and prefers warm areas between 600 - 2300 m.

 

 

Tylosema_fassoglense

Tylosema fassoglense (Family Leguminosae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae). This plant creeps along on the soil surface and occurs up to 2.000 m. Meru National park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flammenlilie
Feuerball_Lilie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flame lily or Turk’s cap (Gloriosa superba, Family Iridaceae). Widespread.

 

Fire ball Lily (Haemanthus multiflurus), (Family Amaryllidaceae). Widespread.. Photo from Arusha National park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gladiolus ukambanensis
Tuerkenbund
Gladiola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Gladiolus ukambanensis / Acidanthera candida occurs in stony grassland in Machakos district. Uncommon from 600 to 1200 m. (Family Iridaceae)

 

A Turk’s cap from Samburu (Family Iridaceae)

 

 

Gladiolus watsonoides (Family Iridaceae) grows in humid mountain forests. Picture from the Aberdares.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fackellilie
Orobanche

 

 

Oreobanche

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alpine poker (Kniphofia thomsonii, Family Asphodelaceae). The 70 existing species grow in Africa, but are introduced in gardens  Europe.
Picture from Aberdares National park.

 

Orobanche sp. (Family Orobanchaceae). Plants in this family parasite other plants. They do not grow leaves and also there is no chlorophyll in the stem. The leaves on the pictures belong to other plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rangaeris amaniensis
Distel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Orchid Rangaeris amaniensis is an epiphyt in dry forested areas.

Argemone sp. (Family Papaveraceae). Nakuru National park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentas parvifolia
Pentas lancolata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentas parvifolia (family Rubiceae / coffee family)
is an erect shrub common in dry bushland.

Pentas lanceolata (family Rubiceae / coffee family)
is a small plant in dry bushland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentanisia ouranogyne

Pentanisia ouranogyne (Rubiaceae) a small
plant growing in drier areas from 500 to 2500 m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craterostigma

Craterostigma_weiss_blau

 

 

Craterostigma pumilum (Family Scrophulariaceae). The leaves grow in rosettes. They can be found after good rain between 350 and 2.250 m. Different colours exist. Picture from Nairobi.

Craterostigma sp. near Nairobi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clerodendrum myricoides

Clerodendrum myricoides (Family Verbenaceae) grows at forest edges or forested areas from 1.500 to 2.400 m.