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  1. Family: Acanthaceae Juss.
    1. Thunbergia Retz.

      1. This genus is accepted, and is native to Asia-Tropical, Africa, Belize and Asia-Temperate..


    Acanthaceae (part 1), Kaj Vollesen, Flora of Tropical East Africa, 2008

    Erect, trailing or twining annual or perennial herbs, or erect or scandent shrubs or woody twiners; cystoliths absent.
    Leaves opposite, entire to crenate or dentate; venation pinnate or palmate.
    Flowers axillary, solitary or paired or in racemes; bracteoles 2, large, hyaline to leathery, connate for 2/3–3/4 dorsally and about 1/4 ventrally (rarely free to base).
    Calyx a subentire to undulate rim or with 10–20 triangular to linear teeth.
    Corolla contorted in bud; tube straight or curved, cylindric or campanulate, widening at point of insertion of stamens, with subsessile capitate glands on the inside; limb spreading, subequally 5-lobed.
    Stamens 4, didynamous or subequal, inserted at transition from throat to tube, included (rarely exserted); anthers 2-thecous, one or both thecae with a setosely bristled boss or a spur at base (rarely muticous); thecae linear to ovoid, opening by apical slits.
    Disc conspicuous, annular, fleshy.
    Ovary 2-locular with 2 collateral ovules per locule; stigma funnel-shaped or with two large unequal lobes (one erect the other horizontal) or subequally 2-lobed with two erect flattened lobes.
    Fruit a 2–4-seeded thick-walled woody capsule, triangular with weakly defined beak or subglobose with sharply defined beak.
    Seed hemispherical, hollow on the proximal face, smooth to reticulate, tuberculate, lamellate or otherwise sculptured; retinaculae absent.
    Range: A number of species are widely grown as ornamentals. Range: 100–150 species, mostly in Eastern and Southern Tropical Africa, also from India to SE Asia and Australia, introduced in America.
    A number of the indigenous species have at one time or other also been cultivated. Several Indian and SE Asian species have been cultivated as ornamentals but, apart from T. laurifolia, never seem to have become naturalized. They include T. alata, battiscombei, erecta, gibsonii, gregorii, holstii, kirkii, petersiana and vogeliana.

    Adhikari, B., Pendry, C.A., Watson, M.F. et al. 2013. Kew Bulletin 68: 651.

    Herbaceous or woody isophyllous climbers, rarely erect or trailing herbs, cystoliths absent
    Leaves opposite, petiolate, ovate or lanceolate to hastate or sagittate
    Flowers pedicellate, solitary and axillary, or up to 4 in axillary fascicles or many in racemes
    Bracts leaf-like; bracteoles paired, large, enclosing calyx and most of corolla tube, sometimes fused on one side, persistent
    Calyx annular, subentire, undulate or 5 – 20-toothed
    Corolla with a straight or curved tube, tube cylindrical, ventricose or gradually widened towards apex; lobes 5, subequal, spreading
    Stamens 4, anthers 2-celled, spurred or muticous
    Ovary 2-locular, ovoid; stigma funnel shaped, bilobed or 2-cleft
    Capsule woody, with subglobose basal part and elongated beak; seeds 2 – 4, hemispherical, smooth or sculptured.



    Native to:

    Andaman Is., Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Borneo, Botswana, Burundi, Cabinda, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Caprivi Strip, Central African Repu, China South-Central, China Southeast, Congo, Djibouti, East Himalaya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Free State, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Hainan, India, Ivory Coast, Jawa, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaya, Maluku, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Guinea, Nicobar Is., Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tibet, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    Alabama, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Ascension, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Chad, Colombia, Cook Is., Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Galápagos, Gambia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Leeward Is., Mauritius, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, New Caledonia, Niue, Ogasawara-shoto, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Rodrigues, Réunion, Samoa, Seychelles, Southwest Caribbean, Suriname, Taiwan, Tonga, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Wallis-Futuna Is., Windward Is.

    Accepted Species


    Other Data

    Thunbergia Retz. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Milne-Redhead, E. [8506], Tanzania 13102.000
    Milne-Redhead, E. [7896], Tanzania 13108.000
    Milne-Redhead, E. [7952], Tanzania 4312.000
    Milne-Redhead, E. [9043], Tanzania 4313.000
    Milne-Redhead, E. [2640], Zambia 4314.000
    Greenway, P.J. [8132], Zambia 3648.000
    Cruse, A.W. [422], Zambia 13113.000
    Cruse, A.W. [408], Zambia 4311.000
    Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. [6857], Cameroon K000029036
    Etuge, M. [294], Cameroon K000029035


    First published in Physiogr. Sälsk. Handl. 1: 163 (1776)


    Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • Benoist in Notulae Syst. 11: 144 (1944).
    • Benoist in Notulae Syst. 2: 287 (1912-13)
    • F.T.A. 5: 8
    • Phys. Saellsk. Handl. 1: 163 (1776), nom. cons.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Int. J. Plant Sci. 159: 446 (1998), nom. conserv., non Thunbergia Montin (1773)
    • Verh. K. Nederl. Akad. Wetensk., Afd. Natuurk., Sect. 2, Part 50, No. 4: 1 (1955)
    • Notul. Syst. 11: 144 (1944)
    • Notul. Syst. 2: 287 (1912)
    • F.T.A. 5: 8 (1899)
    • Bull. Herb. Boiss. 2: 259 (1894)
    • J.B. 32: 219 (1894)
    • DC., Prodr. 11: 54 (1847)
    • Phys. Saelsk. Handl. 1, 3: 163 (1780)


    Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    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.

    Interactive Key to Seed Plants of Malesia and Indo-China
    The Malesian Key Group (2010) Interactive Key to Seed Plants of Malesia and Indo-China (Version 2.0, 28 Jul 2010) The Nationaal Herbarium Nederland Leiden and The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

    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 Bulletin
    Kew Bulletin

    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.