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This species is accepted, and its native range is Tropical Asia.
Basella alba

[FTEA]

Basellaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1968

Morphology General Habit
Glabrous annual or shortly lived perennial, succulent tangled twiner; stems much branched, 2–10 m. long, sometimes almost leafless, greenish or reddish.
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-lamina ovate to suborbicular, (2–)5–15 cm. long, (l.25–)5–13.5 cm. broad, acute or acuminate (less commonly obtuse), usually widely cordate at the base; lateral nerves 4–5 on either side; petiole (1–)2.5–6.5 cm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers white, rose or purplish, (3–)4–5 mm. long, in long-peduncled spikes, 2.5–15(–25) cm. long, usually unbranched (in African specimens at least) but branched in some cultivated forms.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Perianth
Perianth fleshy, urceolate, somewhat saccate at the base; lobes short, ovate, about one-third the length of the tube, not opening.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruits ± 0.5 cm. in diameter (4–7 × 5–10 mm. according to van Steenis), red, white or black; surface crinkly in the dry state.
Figures
Fig. 1/1–10.
Habitat
In thickets, forest edges, margins of cultivated land and swampy ground, frequently by rivers or streams; 0 (cultivated)–2450 m.
Distribution
Madeira, West Africa to Cameroun Republic, S. Tomé, Congo Republic, Sudan Republic, Ethiopia, Rwanda Republic, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Angola but rare in central AfricaAsia to China, Japan, Philippines, Borneo, Fiji and Hawaii, also in West Indies, Brazil and Guianaalmost certainly indigenous in Africa. K1 K3 K4 K6 T1 T2 T3 T4 T6 T7 U2 U4 Z

[KBu]

Eriksson, R. (2007). A Synopsis of Basellaceae. Kew Bulletin, 62(2), 297-320. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20443356

Distribution
Cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide and naturalised after escape. Its native area is unknown, but somewhere in Africa or perhaps Asia seems probable.
Morphology General Habit
Twining vine or sometimes procumbent to erect herb
Morphology Leaves
Leaf blades 3 - 15 x 2.5 - 12 cm, often cordate, or sometimes ovate to broadly elliptic, at base cordate to cuneate or attenuate, at apex acute to somewhat acuminate or obtuse
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers not sunken into rachis, cleistogamous or sometimes chasmogamous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Anthers
Anthers pale
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals 3.5 - 5.5 x 2 - 2.5 mm at anthesis, up to 7.5 mm long in fruit, equalling petals in length, ± erect, ovate to elliptic, connate at base or up to c. 1/2 of their length, at anthesis white to reddish, in mature fruit purple to black, very thick and juicy
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 3.5 - 5.5 x 1.5 - 2.5 mm at anthesis, up to 7.5 mm long in fruit, + erect, ovate to elliptic, connate 1/3 - 2/3 of their length, at anthesis white to reddish, in mature fruit purple to black, very thick and juicy
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Style
Style 1, 3-parted almost to the base, or styles 3
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit completely and tightly enclosed by persistent, fleshy perianth, appearing drupaceous when fresh, wrinkled when dry, the entire structure up to 7.5 x 10 mm.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences 1 - 20 cm long, unbranched or sometimes with few branches, with stout and fleshy axis
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracteoles
Bracteoles well -developed, ovate to triangular
Morphology Stem
Stem glabrous
Note
The Linnaean names B. alba and B. lucida were neotypified by Sidwell (1999), since no original specimens or illustrations exist. Roxburgh, who was the first author to treat the simultaneously described B. alba and B. rubra as the same species, adopted the name B. alba and consequently established the priority (see Sidwell 1999). Many of the synonymised names were described without specimen citations or from cultivated individuals, and it has not been possible to locate their types. Basella alba is easily identified by its sessile, urceolate flowers with a whitish to reddish perianth that becomes purplish black and fleshy, completely enclosing the fruit. This species is cultivated for its edible, succulent and mucilaginous, leaves. It is easily propagated from both seeds and stem cuttings (e.g. Palada & Chang 2003). A red dye, used for food colouring, is produced from the fleshy perianth (e.g. van Steenis 1957). It is also used in, e.g. ethnomedicine, and can be found as an ornamental pot plant in some countries. Its wide cultivation gave rise to the large number of now synonymised names.
Type
Nepal, Mahakali Zone, Kanchapur District, 15 mi W of Dhangarhi, 7 Dec. 1966, Nicolson 2848 (neotype BM, designated by Sidwell 1999: 563; isotype US).
Vernacular
Baselle blanche, Ceylon spinach, Indian spinach, Malabar nightshade, and Malabar spinach, just to mention the most commonly used of the more than hundred different names.

[CPLC]

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Distribution
Cultivada en Colombia; Alt. 0 - 1500 m.; Andes, Islas Caribeñas, Pacífico.
Morphology General Habit
Hierba, trepadora

[FZ]

Basellaceae, B. L. Stannard. Flora Zambesiaca 9:1. 1988

Morphology General Habit
Plant 1–8 m. tall; stems much branched, sometimes sparsely leaved, sometimes reddish.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves: lamina 2.5–15 × 2.0–12.5 cm., ovate to circular, usually acute or acuminate, sometimes rounded or emarginate at apex, usually cordate at base, entire, lateral nerves 3–4 (5) on either side; petioles 0.5–9 cm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences axillary, long peduncled, usually unbranched spikes, 1.5–22 (30) cm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers 2.5–6 mm. long, white, pink or mauvish.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Perianth
Perianth somewhat fleshy, urceolate, lobes c. one-quarter length of tube, remaining closed.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens inserted near apex of tube.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary 0.5 mm. tall, ovoid.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Style
Style with 3 linear stigmas, 0.5 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit 4–5 mm. diam., subglobose, black.

[UNAL]

Bernal, R., G. Galeano, A. Rodríguez, H. Sarmiento y M. Gutiérrez. 2017. Nombres Comunes de las Plantas de Colombia. http://www.biovirtual.unal.edu.co/nombrescomunes/

Vernacular
espinaca, espinaca de enredadera, gallinita

[FWTA]

Basellaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:1. 1954

Morphology General Habit
A climber, cultivated in vegetable gardens; sometimes subspontaneous.

Native to:

Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, India, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Myanmar, New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam

Introduced into:

Alabama, Andaman Is., Angola, Belize, Benin, Brazil Southeast, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Repu, Chad, China Southeast, Christmas I., Colombia, Congo, Cook Is., Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Fiji, Florida, Gilbert Is., Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Guyana, Hainan, Haiti, Hawaii, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Leeward Is., Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, New Caledonia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Rodrigues, Rwanda, Réunion, Senegal, Society Is., South China Sea, Southwest Caribbean, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad-Tobago, Uganda, Windward Is., Zambia, Zaïre

Basella alba L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Jun 1, 2008 Tchiengue, B. [2203], Cameroon K000436603
Jan 1, 2003 Williams, S. [143], Cameroon K000000011
Jul 1, 2002 Cheek, M. [9147], Cameroon K000027192
Jul 1, 2002 Cheek, M. [9147], Cameroon K000749780
Aug 1, 1997 Etuge, M. [2320], Cameroon K000580142
Feb 1, 1997 Cheek, M. [8539], Cameroon K000580152
Dawkins, H.C. [412], Uganda 23696.000
Dawkins, H.C. [590], Uganda 24377.000
Faulkner, H., Tanzania 25710.000
Milne-Redhead, E. [11402], Tanzania 3750.000
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6960] K001126364
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6960], India K001126363
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6961], India Basella cordifolia K001126367
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 6961], India Basella cordifolia K001126374
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6961], India Basella cordifolia K001126366
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6961] Basella cordifolia K001126372
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6961] Basella cordifolia K001126371
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 6961], Myanmar Basella cordifolia K001126376
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6961], India Basella cordifolia K001126365
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6961] Basella cordifolia K001126373
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6961] Basella cordifolia K001126370
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 6961], Myanmar Basella cordifolia K001126377
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6961] Basella cordifolia K001126369
s.coll. [Cat. no. 6961] Basella cordifolia K001126368
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 6961], Myanmar Basella cordifolia K001126375

First published in Sp. Pl.: 272 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
  • Balkrishna, A. (2018). Flora of Morni Hills (Research & Possibilities): 1-581. Divya Yoga Mandir Trust.
  • Berhaut, J. (1974). Flore illustrée du Sénégal 2: 1-695. Gouvernement du Sénégal, Ministère du développement rural direction des eaux et forêta, Dakar.
  • Boulvert, Y. (1977). Catalogue de la Flore de Centrafrique 2(1): 1-85. ORSTOM, Bangui.
  • Brundu, G. & Camarda, I. (2013). The Flora of Chad: a checklist and brief analysis PhytoKeys 23: 1-18.
  • Catarino, L., Sampaio Martins, E., Pinto-Basto, M.F. & Diniz, M.A. (2006). Plantas Vasculares e Briófitos da Guiné-Bissau: 1-298. Instituto de investigação científica tropical, Instituto Português de apoio ao desenvolvimento.
  • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Fischer, E., Rembold, K., Althof, A. & Obholzer, J. (2010). Annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Kakamega forest, Western province, Kenya Journal of East African Natural History 99: 129-226.
  • Franck, A.R., Anderson, L.C., Burkhalter, J.R. & Dickman, S. (2016). Additions to the flora of Florida, U.S.A. (2010-2015) Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 10: 175-190.
  • George, A.S., Orchard, A.E. & Hewson, H.J. (eds.) (1993). Oceanic islands 2 Flora of Australia 50: 1-606. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Girmansyah, D. & al. (eds.) (2013). Flora of Bali an annotated checklist: 1-158. Herbarium Bogorensis, Indonesia.
  • Govaerts, R. (1996). World Checklist of Seed Plants 2(1, 2): 1-492. MIM, Deurne.
  • Kral, R., Diamond, A.R., Ginzbarg, S.L., Hansen, C.J., Haynes, R.R., Keener, B.R., Lelong, M.G., Spaulding, D.D. & Woods, M. (2011). Annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Alabama: 1-112. Botanical reseach institute of Texas.
  • Lejoy, J., Ndjele, M.-B. & Geerinck, D. (2010). Catalogue-flore des plantes vasculaires des districts de Kisangani et de la Tshopo (RD Congo) Taxonomania. Revue de Taxonomie et de Nomenclature Botaniques 30: 1-307.
  • Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008). Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
  • Sikarwar, R.L.S. (2014). Angiosperm diversity assessment of Chitrakootthe legendary place of Vindhyan range, India Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 38: 563-619.
  • Sita, P. & Moutsambote, J.-M. (2005). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Congo, ed. sept. 2005: 1-158. ORSTOM, Centre de Brazzaville.
  • Sykes, W.R. (2016). Flora of the Cook Islands: 1-973. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii.
  • Velayos, M., Barberá, P., Cabezas, F.J., de la Estrella, M., Fero, M. & Aedo, C. (2014). Checklist of the vascular plants of Annobón (Equatorial Guinea) Phytotaxa 171: 1-78.

Literature

Kew Bulletin

  • Linnaeus, C. (1753). Species Plantarum. Stockholm.

Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

  • ColPlantA (2021). "ColPlantA. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.colplanta.org/"

Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • Chev. Bot. 535.
  • —F.T.A. 6, 1: 94

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Baksh-Comeau, Y., Maharaj, S.S., Adams, C.D., Harris, S.A., Filer, D.L. & Hawthorne, W.D. (2016). An annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Trinidad and Tobago with analysis of vegetation types and botanical 'hotspots' Phytotaxa 250: 1-431.
  • Barthelat, F. (2019). La flore illustrée de Mayotte: 1-687. Biotope éditions.
  • Berhaut, J. (1974). Flore illustrée du Sénégal 2: 1-695. Gouvernement du Sénégal, Ministère du développement rural direction des eaux et forêta, Dakar.
  • Boulvert, Y. (1977). Catalogue de la Flore de Centrafrique 2(1): 1-85. ORSTOM, Bangui.
  • Brundu, G. & Camarda, I. (2013). The Flora of Chad: a checklist and brief analysis PhytoKeys 23: 1-18.
  • Catarino, L., Sampaio Martins, E., Pinto-Basto, M.F. & Diniz, M.A. (2006). Plantas Vasculares e Briófitos da Guiné-Bissau: 1-298. Instituto de investigação científica tropical, Instituto Português de apoio ao desenvolvimento.
  • Danihelka, J. Chrtek, J. & Kaplan, Z. (2012). Checklist of vascular plants of the Czech Republic Preslia. Casopsi Ceské Botanické Spolecnosti 84: 647-811.
  • Eriksson, R. (2007). A synopsis of Basellaceae Kew Bulletin 62: 297-320.
  • Fosberg, F.R. & Sachet, M.-H. (1987). Flora of the Gilbert Island, Kiribati, Checklist Atoll Research Bulletin 295: 1-33.
  • Franck, A.R., Anderson, L.C., Burkhalter, J.R. & Dickman, S. (2016). Additions to the flora of Florida, U.S.A. (2010-2015) Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 10: 175-190.
  • GBIF (2008- continuously updated). Global Biodiversity Information Facility http://www.gbif.org/.
  • George, A.S., Orchard, A.E. & Hewson, H.J. (eds.) (1993). Oceanic islands 2 Flora of Australia 50: 1-606. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Gonzalez, F., Nelson Diaz, J. & Lowry, P. (1995). Flora Illustrada de San Andrés y Providencia: 1-281. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Colombia.
  • Kral, R., Diamond, A.R., Ginzbarg, S.L., Hansen, C.J., Haynes, R.R., Keener, B.R., Lelong, M.G., Spaulding, D.D. & Woods, M. (2011). Annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Alabama: 1-112. Botanical reseach institute of Texas.
  • MacKee, H.S. (1994). Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie, ed. 2: 1-164. Museum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris.
  • Pandey, R.P. & Dilwakar, P.G. (2008). An integrated check-list flora of Andaman and Nicobar islands, India Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 32: 403-500.
  • Sita, P. & Moutsambote, J.-M. (2005). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Congo, ed. sept. 2005: 1-158. ORSTOM, Centre de Brazzaville.
  • Sykes, W.R. (2016). Flora of the Cook Islands: 1-973. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii.
  • Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1999). Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, rev. ed., 1: 1-988. University of Hawai'i Press, Bishop Museum Press.

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Bak. & C.B. Cl. in Flora of Tropical Africa 6(1): 94 (1909).
  • Hauman in Flore du Congo Belge et du Ruanda-Urundi, 2: 129 (1951).
  • Keay, Flora of West Tropical Africa, ed. 2, 1: 155, fig. 57 (1954).
  • L., Sp. Pl.: 272 (1753).
  • Moq. in DC., Prodr. 13 (2): 223 (1849).
  • Peter, Flora von Deutsch-Ostafrika 2: 272(1938).
  • R. O. Williams, Useful and Ornamental Plants in Zanzibar and Pemba p. 141, fig. (1949).
  • Robyns, Flore des Spermatophytes du Parc National Albert 1: 155 (1948).
  • Roxb., Fl. Ind. 2: 104 (1832).
  • Volkens in A. Engler & K. Prantl, Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien 3(1a): 126, fig. 73/A–F (1893).
  • van Steenis in Fl. Males., ser. 1, 5 (3): 300, fig. 1 (1957).

Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
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Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia
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Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible
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Flora Zambesiaca
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Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
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Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa
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Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Bulletin
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Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
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© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
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