Boerhavia coccinea (?)

Spiderling, Boerhavia sp., Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in an area of disturbed sandy soil north of Mombasa, Kenya. January 2012.

LEAVES: The triangular leaves are distinctive: the margins are wavy and at a smaller scale appear ragged. Then there is a reddish border outlining the margin.

HERB: Mostly herbaceous growth. With warm temperatures and moisture the weak stems can grow with astonishing speed. The stems of most species tend to lay prostrate on the soil or scramble up and over other vegetation. The stems are swollen at each stem node and may be tinged red.

FLOWERS: The flowers are very small, but can be bright pink to red in color. In the thumb image below the flowers are in groups of two or six. The example below was seen at Voi, Kenya.

RANGE: Various species of Boerhavia are frequent herbaceous plants of disturbed soils and gardens in tropical areas around the world. There are several Boerhavia species in East Africa. The sticky seeds have assured that these plants wide tropical distribution

FRUIT: The small oblong fruits have sticky surfaces allowing them to adhere to people or animals. One seed inside each dry capsule.


Spiderling, Boerhavia sp., Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Nyctaginaceae -- Four O-Clock Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 01 October 2012,
updated 20 July 2017.