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This variety is accepted, and its native range is E. Tropical Africa.


Malvaceae, Bernard Verdcourt & Geoffrey Mwachala. Pavonia, B Verdcourt; Kosteletzkya, OJ Blanchard Jr.; Gossypium, P Fryxell & B Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2009

Type: Tanzania, Lushoto District: Mnyussi, Gereza East, Manta, Semsei 1831 (K!, holo., EA, iso.)
Morphology Leaves
Leaves almost glabrous above or very finely stellate-puberulous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Mericarps similar to var petherickii but calyx lobes and angles without long simple hairs but fine stellate pubescence only
Waste ground, grassland, sandy lake beaches, abandoned cultivations, roadsides, weed in cassava etc; ± 0–1150(–2100) m
Borssum Waalkes has two subspecies rhombifolia and retusa L. (Borssum Waalkes) (type: India, Linnean Herbarium 866/7 (LINN, lecto.)) in which he includes S. alnifolia L. (type: Sri Lanka, Hermann 3: 4 (BM, lecto.). Marais recognised both S. retusa L. and S. alnifolia L. as separate species. Ugborogho recognises both as subsp. of S. rhombifolia and records both from Nigeria but cites the first ‘ Sida rhombifolia subsp. retusa (L.). Ugborogho comb. nov., non sensu Borssum Waalkes’. This of course is not possible; Borssum Waalkes’s combination is the valid one and even if he has misunderstood the Linnean type his combination is based on it. Several specimens from U 2, 3; K 2–4, 6; T 3 have been annotated S. rhombifolia sensu lato since no nutlets are available. Sivarajan & Pradeep (Malv. S. Pen. India: 246 (1996)) maintain S. rhomboidea Fleming as a distinct species and if this is followed then my varieties e and f would undoubtedly have to be transferred to it. Borssum Waalkes chose Herb. Clifford 346/1 (BM) as the lectotype which he examined stating the mericarps had two short awns. Marais also gives this as the lectotype and also saw it. Rodrigo, however, gives a photograph of the Linnean specimen and captions it ‘tipo’. This must be considered an earlier lectotypification, although he did not see it and totally misinterpreted it. In order to try and understand this species I looked at every specimen preserved at Kew throughout its entire range–many hundreds of specimens. The pattern of varieties is much the same in most areas. I have examined the Linnean lectotype (which I suspect came from Jamaica) and it has somewhat rugose mericarps with two distinct awns but is too immature to show dehiscence. The third variety has narrower mericarps, mostly smooth and indehiscent and bearing a single usually stout rigid pungent awn which can be long or short; in some areas e.g. Java, Sumatra and other parts of Malesia it is the predominant variety and has on several occasions been described as a species but also frequently considered the typical variety. De Candolle (Prodr. 1: 462 (1824)) is one of the few early authors who associated 2awned mericarps with S. rhombifolia. The second variety has the upper part dehiscent so that the two halves resemble beaks but do not actually protrude beyond the body of the mericarp. Forms of this variety have very short to short true awns protruding from near the ends of dehiscent edges and there are intermediates with the typical variety which is similarly dehiscent but with long awns. Individual plants are constant in the mericarp characters. It seems unlikely that the present very mixed distributions are due to introductions to and from areas which originally had only one variety. K. Schumann gives the most exhaustive account of the species with an extensive synonymy.
Flora districts: K4 K6 T3 T4 T6 Range: Not known elsewhere

Native to:

Kenya, Tanzania

Sida rhombifolia var. afrorhomboidea Verdc. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Kew Bull. 59: 238 (2004)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. Scientific Data 8: 215.


Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Verdcourt, B. & Mwachala, G.M. (2009). Flora of Tropical East Africa, Malvaceae: 1-170.

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • K.B. 59: 238, fig. 1/f–g (2004).

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. 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 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.