Kenya Natural History Guide >>> Plants >>> Lamiaceae >>> Plectrantus sp?

Spur Flower

Plectranthus barbatus

a shrubby Plectrantus sp. from the Rift Valley, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

This plant was found frequently as a hedgerow component where grazing animals were prevalent, Eldoret, Kenya. January 2012.

 a Plectranthus species photo © Michael Plagens detail of Plectrantus flower photo © Michael Plagens

LEAVES: The opposite leaves are broadly triangular, thickened and rather fleshy. The margins have rounded teeth (crenulate) and the underside is whitish.

SHRUBBY: Herbaceous growth emerges repeatedly from a thick, woody lower portion. Plants were mostly 1 to 2 meters tall.

FLOWERS: The flowers are arranged in rings about an upright spike. Each flower is bilaterally symetric with a distinct dorsal spur.

RANGE: This species is common in fence rows and margins of crop fields in the vicinity of Eldoret, in the Rift Valley at 1900 m elevation. There are many Plectranthus species native to East Africa. This one also carries the common name of Indian Coleus suggesting that it is native there.



An old name, no longer valid is Coleus forskohlii. The broad soft leaves have found use in human hygeine as a substitute for tissue paper and as such in western Kenya "irokwet" applies where as in central Kenya "Maigoya" applies. The toxic chemistry that inhibits animals from grazing on this plant are also potential useful in medicine.

Lamiaceae -- Mint Family

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Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 25 September 2012,
udated 11 March 2013