VII. Subfam. Nepetoideae (Dumort.) Luerss. (1882).

VII. 3. Tribe Ocimeae Dumort. (1829).

VII. 3. E. Subtribe Plectranthinae Endlicher (1838).


Usually succulent subshrubs or herbs, often geoxylic, aromatic; leaves simple, opposite, rarely ternate or sometimes scattered; inflorescence thyrsoid, with cymes variously arranged, sessile, 1-flowered, appearing like paniculately arranged spike-like racemes; bracts usually inconspicuous, sometimes with an abaxial glandular structure; calyx tubular at base, distally dorsiventrally flattened, straight, 2-lipped, 5- or 2-lobed (3/2 or 1/1), lobes unequal, posterior 3-toothed or truncate, apex sometimes folded over anterior lip, anterior 2-toothed or truncate, lips pressed together, circumscissile near base in fruit; corolla strongly 2-lipped, 5-lobed (4/1), white, pink or blue, posterior lip erect or ascending, 4-lobed with median lobes exceeding lateral, horizontal and concave or sometimes hooded and becoming reflexed to explosively release the stamens, corolla-tube curved at midpoint or towards base, parallel-sided below, dilating towards throat, sometimes dorsally gibbous; stamens 4, free, held over or within anterior lip of corolla, glabrous; stigma-lobes equal, subulate; disc 4-lobed with anterior lobe larger; nutlets elliptic or ovoid, mucilaginous. 2n = 34 (36).  Just over 40 species in tropical Africa.  Usually on rocks or thin soil.


Native to:

22 West Tropical Africa
23 West-Central Tropical Africa
24 Northeast Tropical Africa
25 East Tropical Africa
26 South Tropical Africa
27 Southern Africa


Icomum Hua, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 3: 329 (1897).

Oxyotis Welw. ex Baker in D.Oliver & auct. suc. (eds.), Fl. Trop. Afr. 5: 395 (1900).

Bovonia Chiov., Nuovo Giorn. Bot. Ital., n.s., 29: 114 (1922 publ. 1923).


Aeollanthus Mart. ex Spreng. Syst. Veg. 2: 750 (1825); Ryding, Symb. Bot. Ups. 26, 1 (1986), rev.


Species found in RBG Kew living collections

1970-2734 Aeollanthus buchnerianus Briq. N BRMT 10401 F JOD T3 FLOOR
1970-3760 Aeollanthus densiflorus Ryding N MAWS 6137 F JOD T3 FLOOR
1963-16901 Aeollanthus njassae Gurke N MLRD  F JOD T3 BENCH3
1978-4446 Aeollanthus njassae Gurke  EDIN  F JOD T3 
1999-368 Aeollanthus suaveolens  KRST   TRO_N

Image resource

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew