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  1. Family: Myricaceae Rich. ex Kunth
    1. Genus: Myrica L.
      1. Myrica pilulifera Rendle

        This species is accepted, and its native range is S. Tropical & S. Africa.

    [FZ]

    Flora Zambesiaca. Vol. 9, Part 3. Polygonaceae-Myriaceae. Pope GV, Polhill RM, Martins ES. 2006.

    Type
    Type:Malawi, Mt. Mulanje (Milanji), Whyte s.n. (BM, holotype; K).
    Inflorescences
    Female catkins dense at first, but the rhachis elongating, becoming lax and up to 3–6(8) cm long in fruit; bracts 1–2.5 mm long, ovate-triangular, sometimes abruptly contracted to a narrow point of attachment, otherwise as in male; bracteoles c. 4, 0.6–1 mm long, ovate to circular, concave, ciliate; style arms 1.2–1.8(2.5) mm long, linear- to lanceolate-caudate, somewhat flattened and serrulate Male catkins waxy green tinged red before anthesis, rather persistently dense, 8–25(32) mm long; bracts mostly 1.5–2.7 mm long, ovate-triangular to broadly deltate in the upper part, abruptly contracted to the base, the angles often rather sharp, glabrous or ciliolate, generally glandular dorsally; stamens usually 4–7, sometimes up to 10 or more particularly in some lower bracts; anthers sometimes papillose or hairy Female catkins dense at first, but the rhachis elongating, becoming lax and up to 3–6(8) cm long in fruit; bracts 1–2.5 mm long, ovate-triangular, sometimes abruptly contracted to a narrow point of attachment, otherwise as in male; bracteoles c. 4, 0.6–1 mm long, ovate to circular, concave, ciliate; style arms 1.2–1.8(2.5) mm long, linear- to lanceolate-caudate, somewhat flattened and serrulate. Male catkins waxy green tinged red before anthesis, rather persistently dense, 8–25(32) mm long; bracts mostly 1.5–2.7 mm long, ovate-triangular to broadly deltate in the upper part, abruptly contracted to the base, the angles often rather sharp, glabrous or ciliolate, generally glandular dorsally; stamens usually 4–7, sometimes up to 10 or more particularly in some lower bracts; anthers sometimes papillose or hairy.
    Ecology
    Montane forest, often at edges, in secondary growth and at fringes with Brachystegia, Uapaca, Erica (Philippia) woodland, in montane grassland in damp places and among rocks, extending down along rivers, often with Syzygium; 1050–2070 m, but recorded at 720 m at foot of Mt. Mulanje (Chapman 8411).
    Note
    Chapman (pers. comm.) noted that on the Mt. Mulanje plateaux there are many examples of the extraordinary ability of M. pilulifera to survive even the fiercest fires and to act as foci for the colonization by other mostly fire sensitive species. Apart from instances of recovery from the base after severe burning, it was the ability to initiate centres of forest colonization on the grassland even despite fires which was so remarkable. The specimens from Mt. Dómuè, in Mozambique just west of Dedza, seem anomalous. Torre 6048 (LISC), from the slope at 1400 m, does closely resemble M. pilulifera, but the leaf blades are rather decurrent on the petiole, there are slight indications of glands on the youngest leaves and there are male flowers at the base of old fruiting spikes, all features of M. serrata. Chapman 1209 (FHO; SRGH) seems even more like M. serrata, but comes from sheltered crannies near the summit at 1900 m, a habit exceptional for M. serrata, which is common along streams around Dedza. The single specimen, Chapman 5808 (K) from Phirilongwe Hill Forest Reserve is not dissimilar, but a tall tree to 10 m, one of several scattered amongst enormous boulders on the final pull up to the trig point, with M. serrata (M. conifera), Chapman 3807 growing close by. The two forest tree species, Morella pilulifera and M. salicifolia, meet precisely in Malawi. M. salicifolia is common on the Zomba Plateau and extends over the high ground of Dedza, Viphya, Nyika and the Misuku Hills into Tanzania and north to Saudi Arabia. M. pilulifera is common on the hills around Blantyre, Mt. Dómuè (see further note below) extending north-west to Phirilongwe Hill and then south to Mulanje and throughout the mountains of the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border area, on the isolated highlands in Mozambique and southwards to the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Although White, loc. cit., made much emphasis on the continuity of variation in leaf shape in these two species and others, they are not difficult to distinguish in the Flora Zambesiaca region. The lack of evident surface glands on the leaves of M. pilulifera is generally diagnostic, as noted by Rendle, loc. cit. (1903) and Brenan, loc. cit. (1954). However, where trees or shrubs persist in exposed spots above the forest it is not unusual to find leaves with glands, e.g. Mulanje, upper basin of big Ruo, wind-swept low gnarled tree or compact bush (densely glandular on lower surface), Chapman 419 (FHO; K); Nyanga, Mt. Muozi, c. 1950 m, 1 m bush on quartzite outcrop (pock marks and minute glands beneath), Wild 7496 (K; LISC; SRGH); summit of Mt. Nusa, growing around rocks (young leaves glandular above and sparsely beneath), Gilliland 823 (K). There is no consistent pattern and these relatively rare cases where the glands are not diagnostic, the other features of the leaf shape and venation indicated in the key should suffice to place material confidently.
    Distribution
    Mozambique Also in South Africa (Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces) and Swaziland. Malawi ZIM C, ZIM E, ZIM S, MOZ Z, MOZ MS Zimbabwe
    Habit
    Generally a small forest tree, with a dense crown and light grey, fairly smooth bark, 3–10 m tall, but sometimes a much branched shrub only 1–3 m tall, dioecious. Generally a small forest tree, with a dense crown and light grey, fairly smooth bark, 3–10 m tall, but sometimes a much branched shrub only 1–3 m tall, dioecious
    Branches
    Branchlets subglabrous to densely hairy. Branchlets subglabrous to densely hairy
    Leaves
    Leaves with a petiole 3–10 mm long; blades (4.5)5–10(14) × (1.5)2–4 cm, 2–4 times as long as broad, oblanceolate or elliptic-oblanceolate to elliptic-obovate, acutely to bluntly pointed or rarely shortly rounded at the apex, cuneate at the base, generally serrate in the upper half or two-thirds, glabrous to partially pubescent, particularly on the midrib, generally without visible surface glands, but these sometimes present, though rarely numerous, on shrubby plants from exposed montane sites; primary lateral nerves generally 12–18 on either side, fine but visible on both surfaces, flat or slightly raised above. Leaves with a petiole 3–10 mm long; blades (4.5)5–10(14) × (1.5)2–4 cm, 2–4 times as long as broad, oblanceolate or elliptic.oblanceolate to elliptic.obovate, acutely to bluntly pointed or rarely shortly rounded at the apex, cuneate at the base, generally serrate in the upper half or two-thirds, glabrous to partially pubescent, particularly on the midrib, generally without visible surface glands, but these sometimes present, though rarely numerous, on shrubby plants from exposed montane sites; primary lateral nerves generally 12–18 on either side, fine but visible on both surfaces, flat or slightly raised above
    Male
    Male catkins waxy green tinged red before anthesis, rather persistently dense, 8–25(32) mm long; bracts mostly 1.5–2.7 mm long, ovate-triangular to broadly deltate in the upper part, abruptly contracted to the base, the angles often rather sharp, glabrous or ciliolate, generally glandular dorsally; stamens usually 4–7, sometimes up to 10 or more particularly in some lower bracts; anthers sometimes papillose or hairy.
    Female
    Female catkins dense at first, but the rhachis elongating, becoming lax and up to 3–6(8) cm long in fruit; bracts 1–2.5 mm long, ovate-triangular, sometimes abruptly contracted to a narrow point of attachment, otherwise as in male; bracteoles c. 4, 0.6–1 mm long, ovate to circular, concave, ciliate; style arms 1.2–1.8(2.5) mm long, linear- to lanceolate-caudate, somewhat flattened and serrulate.
    Fruits
    Fruit 3–4 mm across, globose or slightly depressed-globose, glabrous, sometimes developing a white waxy covering. Fruit 3–4 mm across, globose or slightly depressed-globose, glabrous, sometimes developing a white waxy covering.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Cape Provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, Malawi, Mozambique, Northern Provinces, Swaziland, Zimbabwe

    Synonyms

    Other Data

    Myrica pilulifera Rendle appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Wild, H. [1414], Zimbabwe 23490.000
    Whyte, A. [s.n.], Malawi K000243533 isotype
    Buchanan, C.M.G. [939], Malawi K000243532
    Jun 30, 2010 Sibinde, A.S. [3], Mozambique Morella pilulifera K000546046
    Harris, T. [351], Mozambique Morella pilulifera K000613787
    Patel, H. [7285], Mozambique Morella pilulifera K000545236
    Timberlake, J. [4942], Mozambique Morella pilulifera K000545292
    Timberlake, J. [5218], Mozambique Morella pilulifera K000613946
    Rogers, F. A. [23083], Transvaal Myrica rogersii K000243545 Unknown type material

    Bibliography

    First published in Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 4: 43 (1894)

    Not accepted by

    • Pope, G.V., Polhill, R.M. & Martins, E.S. (eds.) (2006). Flora Zambesiaca 9(3): 1-277. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Cited as Morella pilulifera.]

    Literature

    Kew Backbone Distributions

    • Timberlake, J.R., Bayliss, J., Alves, T., Francisco, J., Harris, T., Nangoma, D. & de Sousa, C. (2009). Biodiversity and Conservation of Mchese Mountain, Malawi. Report produced under the Darwin Initiative Award 15/036: 1-71. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Pope, G.V., Polhill, R.M. & Martins, E.S. (eds.) (2006). Flora Zambesiaca 9(3): 1-277. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Sources

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. 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 Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0