Plants photographed elsewhere in Namibia (not on Kyffhäuser)
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Melolobium microphyllum (L.f.) Eckl. & Zeyh.

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Melolobium microphyllum

Image 1
12 Aug 2012

Melolobium microphyllum

Image 2
Leaves, pods + spines
12 Aug 2012

Melolobium microphyllum

Image 3
Leaves, pods + spines
12 Aug 2012

Family: Fabaceae
Full name: Melolobium microphyllum (L.f.) Eckl. & Zeyh.
ID status: ID not 100% certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Heuningbossie
English common name(s): Honey bush
Synonym(s): Dichilus microphyllus (L.f.) E.Mey.
Melolobium accedens Burtt Davy fide Fl. Zambes.
Melolobium burchellii N.E.Br.
Melolobium candicans (E.Mey.) Eckl. & Zeyh. fide Fl. Zambes. accepted by FSA
Melolobium decumbens (E.Mey.) Burtt Davy
Melolobium glanduliferum Dummer
Melolobium mixtum Dummer
Ononis microphylla L.f.
Sphingium decumbens E.Mey.
Trigonella armata Thunb.
Status: Native
Description: Stalked glands on stems, leaves and calyces, curved pod, and distinctly spiny. (from

Shrublet, much branched, spiny and sticky to varying degrees, 20–50 cm tall, from a deep taproot; branchlets pubescent to silvery-white tomentellous, with glands apparent beneath at least on older parts. Leaflets 2–5(10) × 1–3(4) mm, oblanceolate to oblanceolate-obtriangular or somewhat obovate, rounded to emarginate at the apex, often folded lengthwise, usually sparsely pubescent and conspicuously covered with glands which may be sessile, clavate or stalked and capitate; stipules 1.5–3 mm long, semi-sagittate, attached laterally, basal part rounded. Flowers usually 2–4 on the lower part of a stiff, straight, terminal or leaf-opposed, spine-tipped axis 1–2(3) cm long, sometimes with several smaller sterile bracts above the flowers, sometimes in young plants with longer axes to 6 cm long and with up to 8 flowers and the spine apparent but not conspicuous or hardened; bracts 2–3 mm long, lanceolate or ovate, rounded at the base, acuminate, upper sterile ones smaller; pedicel 1–2 mm long; bracteoles on the pedicel 1.5–2 mm long, linear-elliptic. Calyx 5–6 mm long, sparsely to conspicuously pubescent and usually conspicuously covered with sessile or stalked glands, divided ± halfway into 2 lips, the upper lip with triangular-lanceolate lobes largely separate, the lower lip trifid. Standard bright yellow, turning orange or brownish, longer than the calyx, spathulate with a claw about a third as long as the blade; wings at least as long as the standard; keel shorter, obtuse at the apex, 5–6 mm long. Pods 12–15 × 3–3.5 mm, oblong, usually slightly curved, hairy to varying degrees, but hairs longest on sutures especially the placental one, and often conspicuously glandular, 4–6-seeded. Seeds mottled, 2 mm across, nearly straight along the radicular side, rounded on the opposite side, with a very small hilum on the shorter side. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Zambesiaca)

Divaricately branched, spiny shrub. Leaves stipulate, leaflets oblong to broadly obovate, (3–)5–8 x 1–3 mm, glandular, hairy; petiole 2–5 mm long; stipules semi-cordate to auriculate, 3–4 x 1–2 mm. Inflorescence terminal, 15–25(–35) mm long, with (1–)2–3(–6) flowers; flowers (5–)7–10 mm long; bracts narrowly cordate, glandular, hairy, 2–6 x 1–3 mm; bracteoles narrowly ovate, 3–4 x 1–2 mm. Calyx shortly bilabiate, glandular, hairy; upper lobes acute, upper lip 3–6 mm long, the apices acute, upper sinus 1–3 mm deep; lateral sinus 2–5 mm deep; lower lobes acute, lower lip 4–7 mm long, the apices acute, lower sinuses 0.5–2.0 mm deep. Corolla yellow; standard suborbicular, 5–8 x 3–6 mm, with a well-developed, channelled claw 2–3 mm long; wing petals oblong, sculptured, 5–8 x 1–2 mm, with a linear claw 2–3 mm long; keel petals shorter than the wing petals, 5–6 x 1–2 mm, with a linear claw 2–3 mm long. Gynoecium narrowly oblong, glandular, hairy. Fruit narrowly oblong, falcate (sometimes straight, e.g., type of M. accedens), 12–18 x 2–4 mm, glandular, hairy, 2–4-seeded; seeds round, 2–3 x 2–3 mm, reddish brown, brown, pale yellow speckled with brown, light brown speckled with dark brown. (from A revision of the genus Melolobium (Genisteae, Fabacaeae), Moteetee and Van Wyk, 2006)
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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