Photo: Picton, H.

Photo: Picton, H.

Photo: Picton, H.


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

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

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


Shrubs or herbs, annual or perennial, sometimes fleshy, weakly aromatic; leaves simple, opposite, rarely ternate or quadrate; inflorescence thyrsoid, usually condensed, capitulate, more rarely elongate, with cymes sessile, 1-flowered; bracts persistent, sometimes coloured; calyx tubular, ventrally gibbous, often laterally compressed basally, sometimes dorso-ventrally compressed at throat or regularly constricted when immature, curved upwards at base, sometimes apically deflexed, zygomorphic, regular at mouth, 5-lobed, lobes isomorphic, lanceolate, spinescent, diverging, posterior not decurrent, throat bearded or not, open at maturity or sometimes partially closed by the deflexed lips, when immature by appendages extending into sinuses between calyx-lobes, these rarely lacking; corolla strongly 2-lipped, 5-lobed (4/1), blue or purplish, posterior lip ascending with median lobes exceeding lateral, anterior lip horizontal, cucullate, corolla-tube narrow, parallel-sided at base, curved upwards or straight at base, curved and dilating towards throat distally; stamens 4, fused at base, usually held within lower lip, sometimes rarely exserted, contiguous at attachment to corolla throat; stigma-lobes subulate or short and rounded; disc 4-lobed with anterior lobe much larger, exceeding ovaries; nutlets, ovoid, glabrous with faint dorsal vein, slightly flattened, mucilaginous.  2n = 34, 68.  Around 40 species in Africa, Madagascar.


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
29 Western Indian Ocean


Echinostachys E.Mey., Comm. Pl. Afr. Austr.: 243 (1838).


Pycnostachys Hook., Exot. Fl. 3: t. 202 (1826); Bruce, Kew Bull. Misc. Inf. 1939: 563-592 (1939), rev.


Species found in RBG Kew living collections

1995-2206 Pycnostachys coerulea N GGHP 3708 P JOD T3 FLOOR
1999-2425 Pycnostachys reticulata  KRST   JOD T3 BENCH3
1970-3755 Pycnostachys umbrosa (Vatke) Perkins N MAWS 6067 F JOD T3 FLOOR
1999-2426 Pycnostachys urticifolia Hook.  KRST  F JOD SEED T3

Image resource

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew