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  1. Family: Lamiaceae Martinov
    1. Orthosiphon Benth.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Colombia, Tropical & S. Africa to NE. Australia.


    Harley, R.M. et al. (2004). Labiatae, in The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants (K. Kubitzki, ed. in chief) VI: 167-275. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.

    Shrubs or herbs, often geoxylic, sometimes annual, aromatic or not
    Leaves simple, opposite, rarely ternate or quadrate
    Inflorescence thyrsoid with cymes sessile, usually 3-, more rarely 1-flowered
    Bracts persistent, not coloured, often inconspicuous
    Calyx shortly tubular, straight or curving upwards, strongly 2-lipped, 5-lobed (1/4), lobes unequal, posterior rounded, decurrent, curving upwards, lateral teeth deltoid, usually with a prominent shoulder, anterior lobes subulate, throat open, glabrous
    Corolla strongly 2-lipped, 5-lobed (4/1), white, pink or bluish, rarely red, posterior lip ascending, 4-lobed with median lobes exceeding lateral lobes, anterior lip horizontal, concave, corolla-tube straight or slightly curved, parallel-sided, dilating t
    Stamens 4 usually held over lower lip, rarely much exserted, posterior pair usually attached above midpoint of corolla-tube, very rarely at base, usually glabrous, inappendiculate, anterior pair attached at corolla throat
    Style usually capitate-clavate
    Stigma-lobes equal, rounded, rarely parallel-sided, connivent
    Disc 4-lobed with anterior lobe larger
    Nutlets ± ovoid, glabrous, mucilaginous or not.
    2n = 22-28, 48.  Around forty species
    In tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar and tropical or subtropical Asia
    In grassland, woodland, or forest margins.

    Lamiaceae (Labiatae), A.J. Paton, G. Bramley, O. Ryding, R.M. Polhill, Y.B. Harvey, M. Iwarsson, F. Willis, P.B. Phillipson, K. Balkwill, C.W. Lukhoba, D.F. Otieno, & R.M. Harley. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2009

    Annual or perennial herbs, suffrutices or shrubs
    Stems erect, often woody at base
    Leaves opposite
    Flowers hermaphrodite, arranged in 2–6-flowered verticils disposed in a lax inflorescence; bracts small, sometimes forming an inconspicuous apical coma
    Calyx persistent, horizontal or downward-pointing, shortly tubular, bilabiate; posterior lip large, ovate, entire, apex sometimes cuspidate, shortly decurrent on tube; anterior lip 4-lobed, lateral lobes deltate, cuspidate, median lobes lanceolate, long acuminate; fruiting calyx with throat open, glabrous, posterior lip accrescent, lateral lobes of anterior lip often with the posterior margin extended towards or under the posterior lip and with a small lanceolate or subulate tooth, median lobes acicular or subulate, curving upwards, longer than lateral lobes
    Corolla bilabiate, white, pink or bluish; tube funnel-shaped or straight and ± parallel-sided, dilating slightly towards throat, exceeding the calyx or subequal to it; posterior lip perpendicular to tube, 4-lobed, with the median narrower than and exceeding the lateral; anterior lip entire, horizontal and cucullate, enclosing the stamens or deflexed
    Stamens 4, declinate, shortly exserted or enclosed within the anterior lip; posterior pair inappendiculate, basally ciliate or glabrous, adnate to the corolla above the midpoint of the tube; anterior pair glabrous, adnating nearer throat, anthers dorsifixed, synthecous
    Disk 4-lobed, with anterior lobe larger
    Ovary glabrous, deeply 4-lobed; style gynobasic, capitate, branches rounded, equal, adpressed
    Nutlets brown, ovoid with a small basal scar, minutely tuberculed, producing a small amount of mucilage when wet; embryo straight, exalbuminous.
    Ashby, loc. cit. (1938) divided the genus into three sections, sect. Serrati M.Ashby, Orthosiphon ( Euorthosiphon M.Ashby) and Pallidi M.Ashby. Codd, loc. cit. (1964), expanded sect. Serrati to include Nautochilus Bremek. and treated it as a subgenus, Orthosiphon subgen. Nautochilus (Bremek.) Codd. Subgen. Nautochilus in a more restricted sense, i.e. those species with stamens hairy at the base, exserted and attaching to the corolla in its basal half, and also with a bifid style, has now been transferred to Ocimum, see generic notes under Ocimum. Ashby described sect. Pallidi for species with a supposedly funnel-shaped corolla and the anterior corolla lip being longer than the posterior. O. hanningtonii, which has a funnelshaped corolla and equal corolla lips, is intermediate between sect. Pallidi and sect. Orthosiphon. The difference between a funnel-shaped tube and the parallel-sided tube that dilates at the throat, found in the remainder of Orthosiphon¸ is very slight. The corolla of O. pallidus seems to be very similar in shape to other members of Orthosiphon, but the tube is shorter making it appear funnel-shaped. Only O. hanningtonii has a properly funnel-shaped corolla tube, in that the extended sides of the exserted part of the tube are not parallel. Therefore, in Orthosiphon there seems to be a continuous variation in the tube shape between parallel-sided and dilating at the throat on one hand, and funnel-shaped on the other. Due to this unconvincing character difference and the intermediate position of O. hanningtonii, sect. Pallidi is not recognised here.



    Native to:

    Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Benin, Borneo, Botswana, Burkina, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Repu, Chad, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colombia, Congo, Djibouti, East Himalaya, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Hainan, India, Ivory Coast, Jawa, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Madagascar, Malawi, Malaya, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, New Guinea, Nicobar Is., Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Queensland, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Socotra, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    Fiji, Niue

    Accepted Species


    Other Data

    Orthosiphon Benth. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Cruse, A.W. [88A], Zimbabwe 21926.000
    Coode, M. [NGF29713], Papua New Guinea K000888376


    First published in Edwards's Bot. Reg. 15: t. 1300 (1830)

    Accepted by

    • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


    Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • —F.T.A. 5: 365.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 7: 261 (2004)
    • Bothalia 8: 147–162 (1964), excl. subgen. Nautochilus sensu stricto
    • J.B. 76: 1–10, 39–48 (1938), excl. sect. Serrati
    • Edward’s Bot. Reg., t. 1300 (1830)

    Lamiaceae Key Genus Fact Sheets

    • Harley RM, Atkins S, Budantsev AL, Cantino PD, Conn BJ, Grayer R, Harley MM, de Kok RPJ, Krestovskaja T, Morales R, Paton AJ, Ryding O, and Upson T. 2004. Labiatae, in The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants (K. Kubitzki, ed. in chief) VI: 167-275. Sp
    • Paton, Kew Bull. 53: 483-485 (1998).
    • Codd, Bothalia 12: 21-27 (1976), rev.
    • Clerodendranthus Kudô, Mem. Fac. Sci. Taihoku Imp. Univ. 2: 117 (1929).
    • Syncolostemon E. Mey. ex Benth. in E.Mey, Comm. Pl. Afr. Austr.: 230 (1837)


    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Lamiaceae Key Genus Fact Sheets
    Nina Davies, Gemma Bramley and Don Kirkup, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew