Ehretia obtusifolia A. DC.

Miller, James S., 2002, A revision of Ehretia (Boraginaceae) for Madagascar and the Comoro Islands, Adansonia (3) 24 (2), pp. 137-157: 149-150

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Ehretia obtusifolia A. DC.


4. Ehretia obtusifolia A. DC.  

In DC., Prodr. 9: 507 (1845). — Type: Schimper

652, Ethiopia, Tigre, Medschara, near Gapdia, (holo-,

G; iso-, K).

Ehretia fischeri Gurke   in Engl., Die Planzenwelt Ost- Afrikas und der Nachbargebiete: 336 (1895). — Syntypes: Fischer 323, Tanzania, Mwanza Dist., Kagehi (B); Stuhlmann 850, Tanzania, Biharamulo / Mwanza Dist., Usinga near French Mision at Usambiro (B).

Shrub or small tree to 3 m tall, the twigs glabrous to sparsely pubescent, with both glandular and simple hairs. Leaves alternate, deciduous; blades elliptic, widest at or near the middle, 2.7- 6 × 1.2-3 cm, the apex acuminate to obtuse, the base cuneate to acute, the margin entire, the adaxial surface glabrous to sparsely and minutely strigillose, puberulent along the midrib, the abaxial surface sparsely to moderately puberulent, more so on the major veins, the venation brochidodromous, the midrib raised on both surfaces, the secondary veins 5-7, the tertiary venation reticulate; petioles 1-7 mm long, glabrous to sparsely puberulent, canaliculate on the adaxial surface. Inflorescences terminal, cymose, 3- 5.5 cm broad, the branches pubescent, with both glandular and simple hairs; flowers bisexual; calyx campanulate, 2-2.2 × 1 mm long, the 5 lobes elliptic, 1.5-1.8 mm long, the apex acute, puberulent with both glandular and simple hairs and ciliate on the margin; corolla white, tubular with reflexed to spreading lobes, the tube c. 3 mm long, the 5 lobes oblong, 3-4 mm long; stamens 5, prominently exserted, the filaments 4.5-5 mm long, the upper 2.5-3 mm free, glabrous, the anthers obloid, 1.3-1.5 mm long; ovary ovoid, c. 1 mm long, the style 3-4.5 mm long, divided 1/3-1/2 its length, glabrous to sparsely hirsute, the 2 stigmas capitate. Fruits drupaceous, borne in the persistent calyx, color at maturity unknown, broadly ovoid, c. 3 × 3 mm, the endocarp bony, separting into 4 pyrenes at maturity, these 4 × 3 mm, reticulate on the outer surface.

All four collections of E. obtusifolia   from Madagascar are of immature individuals in early flower so the dimensions of mature leaves probably exceeds those given in the description above. Fruits are not known from the Madagascar collections, so the description of fruits above is based on African material. Also, the inclusion of Leandri 3568, in very early flower with essentially no leaves, in this species must be considered provisional. Ehretia obtusifolia   is the only upland species in Madagascar with glandular pubescence on the inflorescence branches.

DISTRIBUTION. — Ehretia obtusifolia   is widely distributed in East Africa, from Somalia, to southern Africa ( Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa), through the middle east to Afganistan, Pakistan, and India. In Madagascar, this species is known from only four collections, all from the south central part of the island from Sakaraha to near Ihosy from 600-1200 m in elevation (Fig. 4).


CONSERVATION STATUS. — Provisional IUCN Red List Category: Endangered in Madagascar (EN B1abi-iv+B2abi-iv). With an Extent of occurrence of 200 sq. km. and an Area of Occupancy of only 200 sq. km. Ehretia obtusifolia   occurs in an area in southern Madagascar where the vegetation is increasingly fragmented. Two of the four known collections are known from protected areas. This species is widespread from Africa through India and this analysis considers only Malagasy populations.

MATERIAL EXAMINED. — MADAGASCAR: Bernardi 11231, Prov. Fianarantsoa, Ihosy , in monte Lalanandro , 1100-1200 m, 22 o 23’S, 46 o 08’E, fl., 5 Nov. 1967 ( P!); Leandri 3568, Prov. Toliara, forêt de Zombitsy, au NE de Sakaraha , 150 km NE de Tuléar , 600-800 m, 22 o 46’S, 44 o 43’E, fl., 1-3, 17-21 Nov. 1960 ( MO!, P!); Service Forestier: SF 26467 GoogleMaps   , Prov. Fianarantsoa, Réserve Naturelle Andringitra, Antambohobe , Lohony , Ankazomby , dist. Ivohibe , 22 o 19’S, 46 o 47’E, fl., fr., 18 Oct. 1967 ( P!; TEF!); Service Forestier: SF 27876 (Capuron) GoogleMaps   , Prov. Fianarantsoa, vestiges de forêt ombrophile sur la crête supérieure du massif de Lalanandro, au N   d’Ihosy , 22 o 21’S, 46 o 08’E, fl., 6 Nov. 1967 ( P!, TEF!) GoogleMaps   .


Museum National d' Histoire Naturelle, Paris (MNHN) - Vascular Plants


University of New England


Missouri Botanical Garden


Centre National de la Recherche Appliquée au Developement Rural


Nanjing University