Plants photographed on Kyffhäuser
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Hermannia modesta (Ehrenb.) Mast.

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Hermannia modesta

Image 1
Reddish stems
22 Sep 2008

Hermannia modesta

Image 2
13 Dec 2008

Hermannia modesta

Image 3
Flowers and leaves
13 Dec 2008

Hermannia modesta

Image 4
21 Dec 2008

Hermannia modesta

Image 5
03 Mar 2009

Hermannia modesta

Image 6
03 Mar 2009

Family: Sterculiaceae
Full name: Hermannia modesta (Ehrenb.) Mast.
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Feëtjieliggie
English common name(s): Common hermannia, Fairy lights
Synonym(s): Trichanthera modesta Ehrenb. (1829)
Hermannia arabica Hochst. & Steud. ex Fisch.
Hermannia filipes Harv. (1860)
Hermannia holubii Burtt Davy (1926)
Hermannia lugardii N.E. Br. (1909)
Status: Native
Description: Red (to orange, pink, purple) flowers

Slender, erect annual herb, up to 60 cm. Stems and branches with short glandular and longer simple hairs. Leaves linear, up to 4 cm long, thinly-stellate-hairy, sometimes also with glandular hairs; margins entire. Flowers drooping, small, solitary, axillary, pink, red or purple; peduncle up to 3.5 cm long, pubescent. Fruit oblong-ovoid, c. 8 x 6 mm, thinly stellate-pubescent, with small spreading apical horns, up to 1 mm long. (from Flora of Zimbabwe website)

Slender or much-branched annual herb up to c. 60 cm tall; branches slender, pubescent with short glandular hairs and longer simple hairs. Leaf-lamina 1–4 x 0.1–0.25 cm, strictly linear, apex obtuse, margin entire, thinly appressed-stellate-pubescent on both surfaces and also with glandular hairs in some specimens; petiole c. 2 mm long, with glandular and simple hairs; stipules c. 2 mm long, subulate, pubescent. Flowers solitary in the upper axils on filamentous puberulous peduncles up to 3.5 cm long; pedicel up to 8 mm long, articulated by a slightly swollen joint to the peduncle, puberulous; bracts absent. Calyx campanulate, 3–5 x 3–6 mm, pubescent with simple and glandular hairs, lobed 2/3 of the way down; lobes from lanceolate to ovate-acuminate. Petals c. 6 x 2.5 mm, pink, red or purplish, narrowly obovate, margins scarcely inrolled in the lower half. Stamens with obovate filaments c. 2.5 mm long, without hairs on the shoulders; anthers c. 3 mm long, pubescent. Ovary oblong-ovoid, stipitate, glandular; styles c. 2 mm long, puberulous in the lower half. Capsule c. 8 x 6 mm, oblong-ovoid, thinly stellate-pubescent with some glands or glabrescent, with spreading horns at the apex c. 1 mm long. Seeds c. 1.5 x 0.75 mm, almost black, corniform (arcuate and thicker at one end than the other), wrinkled and minutely tuberculate. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Zambesiaca)

Erect, annual herb 4–15 cm tall, stem 0.5–1 mm diameter at base, usually unbranched; stems scattered with patent simple and glandular hairs, sometimes with a few stellate and long simple hairs. Leaf-blade linear-oblong, 1.6–3≈0.1–0.4(–0.6) cm, apex obtuse, margin entire, base acute, nerves inconspicuous, upper surface glabrous or with a few stellate or simple hairs, lower surface with scattered stellate hairs and sessile glandular hairs; petiole 1–2 mm long; stipules subpatent, subulate, 1.5–2.5 mm long. Inflorescence with flowers single in the upper axils; peduncle 12–30 mm long, ebracteate, subglabrous or with a few simple hairs; pedicel thicker than and conspicuously articulated with the peduncle, 2–3 mm long. Flowers pendulous, wine-red or red, ±5 mm wide. Calyx campanulate, 4 x 3–4 mm, lobed for 1/2, lobes narrowly triangular, 2–2.6 x 1–1.3 mm, glabrous apart from a few simple hairs on the lobe margins. Petals oblanceolate, 5–6 x 1.4–3 mm, margins not or only very slightly involute in lower half, glabrous; stamens with filaments oblanceolate, 2–2.5 x 0.7 mm, glabrous; anthers white, 2.5–3 x 0.3 mm. Ovary truncate-ovoid, 1.5 x 1.2 mm, awns inconspicuous, stipe 0.7 mm long; styles 1.5 mm long. Fruit capsule truncate-ovoid, ±5 x 4 mm, awns inconspicuous, 0.2–0.4 mm long, erect, sparsely and inconspicuously puberulous with simple and glandular hairs; seeds black, reniform, 1.3 x 0.7 x 0.6 mm, with approx. 8 transverse bands and scattered glossy black papillae. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora of Tropical East Africa)

Annual herb up to 30 cm tall or more; stems pubescent with short glandular hairs and longer mostly simple hairs. Leaves with up to c. 3 mm long petiole; stipules up to 2 mm long, linear; blade linear, 10–40 x 1–3 mm, acute, with entire margin (rarely with a couple of teeth near apex). Flowers solitary in upper leaf-axils; peduncle 10–35 mm long; pedicel 3–8 mm long, without bracteoles. Calyx c. 4–5 mm long, pubescent. Petals c. 6 mm long, red to purplish. Stamens with filaments c. 2.5 mm long and anthers c. 3 mm long. Styles c. 2 mm long. Capsule 5–9 mm long, oblong-ovoid, sparsely pubescent and with spreading c. 1 mm long hairs at the apex. Seeds c. 1.5 mm long, transversely wrinkled and with scattered tubercles. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Somalia)

Hermannia modesta is in the form of slender herb up to 40 cm high, sometimes constituting a real bush. The leaves are elongated. The corolla can take on various colors: white, pink, red, purple. (from, translated from French by Google Translate)

Suffrutex, appearing annual but often persisting for a few years, flowering early in first year, stems erect, branching from near base, branches ascending or spreading-ascending; stems, branches, petioles and peduncles usually pubescent with short, patent, glandtipped hairs, sometimes intermixed with distinct stellate hairs or stellate only and occasionally long, pointed, spreading hairs present as well, rarely some branchlets glabrescent. Stipules from about 1 mm to 2.5 mm long, linear-acute to subulate, sparsely stellatepubescent. Leaves petiolate; blade variable, from more or less linear, narrowing slightly to base and apex, to oblong-elliptic, 6-40 mm long, 1-12 mm broad, usually sparsely stellate-pubescent, glabrescent, or gland-tipped hairs and bulbous-based hairs present, margins entire or distinctly toothed, apex acute or broad and rounded; petiole 1-12 mm long. Inflorescence of 1-flowered cymes, solitary in axils of leaves; peduncle 10-35 mm long, hardly distinguishable from the pedicels; pedicels 3.7 mm long, becoming cernuous; bracteoles aborted. Calyx persistent, stellatepubescent, becoming translucent with age, sparsely pubescent with gland-tipped hairs, lobed to about, or just below midway, about 4.5 mm long. Petals “ blood-red” , “ pale red” , “ pink” , “ deep orange” , “ crimson” , “ purple” , mostly appearing deep violet in pressed specimens, about 5-12 mm long, margin slightly inrolled on claw only, 4-6 mm broad near apex, narrowing slightly to the base. Stamens with obovate, hyaline filaments, pubescence obscure on shoulders; anthers erect, 4-8 mm long, overlapping the filament for about 1 mm, acute, sparsely ciliate. Ovary stipitate (stipe about 1.5 mm long), sparsely pubescent with gland-tipped hairs and longer hairs along the sutures and a few stellate hairs inter-mixed or stellate-pubescent with a few gland-tipped hairs intermixed, very shortly horned. Capsules 5-12 mm long, 4-7 mm broad, pubescent with short glandtipped hairs and longer acute hairs on the sutures and a few stellate hairs present or predominantly stellatepubescent with a few gland-tipped hairs present; horns usually under 2 mm long, spreading, stipe about 2 mm long. Seeds reniform, corrugated and finely granular with tubercles developing. Found in dry, warm, sandy regions, mostly in open, sparse vegetation, often along roads in dry riverbeds and on old lands. Recorded from Beaufort West in the Cape northwards through the northern Cape, parts of the Orange Free State, Natal and Transvaal and into South West Africa. Also found in Botswana and northwards to Egypt and Arabia. (from Revision of Hermannia subgenus Hermannia in southern Africa, Verdoorn, 1980)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iNaturalist (Namibia / Alex Dreyer)
iNaturalist (Namibia)
iNaturalist (southern Africa)
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Content last updated: 18 Apr 2024

Note: The identification of some of the plants on this website is not 100% certain. Any comments will be highly appreciated. I would also be willing to supply higher resolution images upon request. Please contact me at the e-mail address given below.

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