This page presents a representative sample of a very few Kenya plant species. Each image is a thumb-link for more information about that plant. At the top left of each page the user should find a hierarchal menu including a link to the family classification of the plant discussed. There, find links to more plants belonging to the same family. Currently there are over 400 plant species pages. I have researched these carefully, but there might be some errors. If you see an error please contact me using the copyright notice link at the bottom of each page. Thank you for visiting this growing web site.

Sphagnum Moss

sphagnum sp on a boulder in shady woods, photo © Michael Plagens

Grows closely appressed to moist, damp surface in partial to full shade.

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Rose Moss

Rose Moss, Rhodobryum, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Many moss species in Kenya. Found in moist habitats and rarely taller than a few cm's.

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A fern, Doryopteris concolor, photo © Michael Plagens

Tufted fern. No flowers or fruit. The fronds are roughly triangular in outline.

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Azolla Fern

Floating Fern, Azolla, photo © Michael Plagens

Minute floating ferns resembling duckweeds. Color can range from red to green.

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Weeping Fern

An epiphytic fern, Lepisorus sp, photo © Michael Plagens

Widely cultivated but also native species. Grows upon trees or from breaks in cliff faces.

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East-African Yellow-wood, Podocarpus falcatus, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Thickish narrow leaves. Seeds within a spherical, fleshy cone. Large forest tree in moist highland areas.

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African Juniper

East African Juniper, Juniperus procera, photo © Michael Plagens

Short, scale-leaf needles and cones with a fleshy, aromatic aril. Forest tree with dark gray, scaly bark found at higher elevations.

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Mexican Cypress

Mexican Cypress in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Plantation timber tree of mid to highland areas. Spherical cones harden and split into a half dozen woody scales. Fast growing.

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Blood Lily

inflorescence of Scadoxus multiflorus, photo © Michael Plagens

Dense globe of orange-red flowers make this amarylid conspicuous and widely known.

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Crinum macowanii, photo © Michael Plagens

Spectacular amarillid flowers white, tinged with wine-color opening at night. Margins of rubbery leaves appear crinkled.

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Gloriosa Lily

Gloriosa superba, photo © Michael Plagens

Spectacular lily with long red-orange petals and leaves ending in tendril-like appendages.

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Yellow Star Grass

Hypoxis, Yellow Star Grass, face photo © Michael Plagens

Rosete of basal grass-like leaves with 6-pointed yellow flowers rising above. Several similar species in Kenya.

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African Asparagus

inflorescence of Asparagus africanus photo © Michael Plagens

Needle-like leaves in clusters along stems. Spikes of small six-pointed flowers. Semi-arid shrub.

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Wild Asparagus

Asparagas flagellaris, photo © Michael Plagens

Tough, woody stems with numerous side stems reaching lengths of 2 to 3 m and bearing feathery leaves and very stout thorns.

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Bulbine frutescens from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Grass-like leaves are thick and succulent. Yellow flowers in spikes. Native to South Africa, but widely cultivated.

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Cornstalk Dracaena

Dracaena fragrans from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

One to several meters tall/long stems in forest understory. Terminal clusters of white or wine-colored flowers.

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Reclining Date Palm

Reclining Date Palm in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Clump-forming palm with long, pinnate leaves. Multiple stems may reach 15 m in height.

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Cultivated Agave in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Agave species are native to Tropical America. A number of species including sisal have been introduced.

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Aloe sp. on a cliff face photo © Michael Plagens

Succulent with thick, fleshy leaves. Leaves are distinctly toothed along margins. Tubular, red flowers. Many similar species in Kenya.

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Wollaston's Aloe

possibly Wollaston's Aloe, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Acaulescent aloe - i.e. leaves clustered at ground level. Light spotting on leaves. Highland area devoted to animal grazing.

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Leopard Orchid

Leopard Orchid, Ansellia africana, photo © Michael Plagens

Grows epiphytically upon branches of trees. Large flowers have red-brown spots on golden yellow.

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Eulopha Orchid

Terestrial Orchid, Eulophia, photo © Michael Plagens

Large sepals marked with red. Terestial - grows on rocky ground at margins of woodlands.

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Screw Pine

Screw Pine, Pandanus utilis, photo © Michael Plagens

Flowers and fruit in large, spherical bunches. Leaves long and strap-like resembling palm leaves. Leaf margins sharply serrated.

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Water Lettuce

Aquatic Pistia stratiotes in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Floating plant with thick, bouyant leaves. Reproduction often by vegetative budding.

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Dioscorea Yam

Dioscorea sp. from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Woody vine with short, sharp thorns and flowers in long, loose spikes. Heart shaped leaves are tough.

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Cyperus papyrus, photo © Michael Plagens

Robust reed of river- and lake-side marshes. Characteristic umbrella-shaped inflorescence.

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Cyperus sp. photo © Michael Plagens

Grass-like plant in usu. moist or wet areas. Branched, terminal spikes of green flowers. Many species.

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Cream Sedge

Cyperus hemisphaericus from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Bright cream colored inflorescence set this sedge apart. Often grows a meter or more tall. This specimen was growing low in turf.

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Species of rush, Juncus, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

These plants of moist to wet soil look like grass. Stems are round in cross-section.

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Harpachne schimperi from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Clump-forming grass with stems up to 0.5m tall. Pendulous spikelets crowded at top of infloresence. Often shaded a pink-red color.

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... More Grasses!

Water Milfoil

Water Milfoil, Myriophyllum, from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Submerged aquatic herb with numerous very finely divided leaves. Pockets of air inside the long stems serve as floats.

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Pond Weed

Pond Weed, Potamogeton, photo © Michael Plagens

Aquatic plant with floating stems and leaves. Flowers are borne in spikes and have four parts.

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Water Hyacinth

Water Hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, photo © Michael Plagens

Floating plant with inflated stems and spikes of large blue flowers. Exotic invasive sometimes clogs waterways.

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Cat-tail or Bullrush, Typha capensis, photo © Michael Plagens

Robust herbaceous plant of wet places forming densely packed stands. Cottony seeds in thick-packed spikes.

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Date Palm

Date Palm, Phoenix dactylifera, photo © Michael Plagens

Long pinnately compound leaves on medium to large tree. Mostly found only in cultivation.

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Traveler's Palm

Traveller's Palm in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Tree-size, herbaceous plant with the huge leaves oriented in a vertical plane. Complex flower with large showy spathe. Non-native.

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Clinging Aneilema, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Vine-like, herbaceous or slightly woody plant clambers over other vegetation. Two petals much larger than the third. Partly shady undergrowth.

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Spiderwort or Dayflower, Commelina, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Two large blue petals and one smaller appear for a short time, maybe a day. Common herb or weed in moist gardens.

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She-oak, Casuarina equisetifolia, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

A slender tree when grown in dense groves with feathery, gray-green foliage and non-showy flowers in catkins. Coastal Kenya.

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River She-oak

an Australian tree, Casuarina cunninghamiana, photo © Michael Plagens

Frequently planted tree in the mid elevations. Appears pine-like with small cone-like fruit.

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Wild Pepper

Wild Piper, Piper umbellatum, photo © Mike Plagens

Shrubby plant with very large soft leaves with heart-shaped base. Flowers white, minute and packed into dense spikes.

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Also see Cape Wild Pepper


Cherimoya, Annona cherimola, photo © Michael Plagens

Cultivated fruit tree native to the Amrican tropics. Large, pear-shaped fruit has a scalloped surface texture and custard-like flesh.

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Kenyan Dwaba Berry

Monanthotaxis sp in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Small tree with spherical yellow flowers. Fleshy fruits in clusters. Leaves eliptic and smooth-margined. Among many native Annonaceae.

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African Greenheart

Warburgia ugandensis photo by Michael Plagens

Small to large tree with rounded crown and shiny green, simple leaves. Fruit a spherical berry.

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cultivated avocado, Persea americana, photo © Michael Plagens

Large fleshy fruit with a single large seed at center. Leaves elyptic, smooth margined and dark green. Origin is also tropical America.

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Water Lily

a water lily at a fresh water pond near Mombasa, Nymphaea sp., photo © Michael Plagens

Familiar floating plants. Large showy flowers with numerous petals, stamens and pistils. Prefers shallow water where roots are anchored in bottom soil.

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Water Snowflake

a water lily at a fresh water pond near Mombasa, Nymphaea sp., photo © Michael Plagens

Floating water plant with big leaves and white, five petal flowers.

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Meadow-Rue, Thalictrum, photo © Michael Plagens

In moist soil, often in partial shade, this herb has distinctive compound leaves.

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Clematis Vine in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

White flowers about 2cm in dia. from a vine growing in sunny locations.

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Buttercups, Ranunculus, photo © Michael Plagens

Herbaceous plants of moist soil in the mountains. Five petals and numerous stamens and pistils.

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Sensitive Wood-Sorrel

Biophytum abyssinicum photo © Michael Plagens

Delicate plant resembles a Lilliputian umbrella that folds up when disturbed!

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Oblique Sorrel

Oxalis obliquifolia photo © Michael Plagens

Herb with usually no above-ground branching. Leaves divided into 3 equal parts - trifoliate. Flowers singular.

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Confetti Tree, Gymnosporia senegalensis, face photo © Michael Plagens

Conspicuous when flowering. Leaves ovate, simple, lightly serrated and often notched at tip. Straight, long thorns.

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Hippocratea (?)

Celastraceae, perhaps Hippocratea, photo © Mike Plagens

Woody plants with long, pendulous branches, opposite leaves and small clusters of whitish flowers.

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Kei Apple

Kei Apple, thorny shrub with fruit, Dovyalis caffra, photo © Michael Plagens

Woody shrub with stout thorns. Spherical fruits turn orange when ripe. Oblong, alternate leaves.

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Thorn Pear

thorn pear, Scolopia zeyheri, photo © Michael Plagens

Alternate, shiny leaves with serrated margins and a sturdy thorns arising from leaf axils. Large, leafy shrub. 1 cm fruit ripen to orange.

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Mexican Prickly Poppy

Mexican Prickly Poppy in Kenya, Argemone mexicana, photo © Michael Plagens

Bright yellow flowers with five petals on very prickly herbaceous plant. Followed by a spiny pod. Non-Native.

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White Witch-Hazel

Witch-hazel, Trichocladus ellipticus, photo © Michael Plagens

Small tree with alternate, elliptical leaves and woody fruits arranged into s spherical cluster. Flowers cream- colored.

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Common Purslane

Common Purslane in Kenya, Argemone mexicana, photo © Michael Plagens

Bright yellow flowers on a creeping, succulent herb. Leaves obovate. Weed of gardens, but also a vegetable.

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Portulaca quadrifida photo © Mike Plagens

Forms mats of succulent, leafy stems and yellow flowers with four petals. Widely distributed in tropical Asia and Africa. Leaves opposite.

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Kalanchoe prittwitzii photo © Wikimedia Contributer Haplochromis

Succulent leaves are in a rosette at ground level. Four yellow petals. Clusters of flowers on a tall flower stalk almost a meter tall. Keyed to K. prittwitzii.

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Kalanchoe #2

Kalanchoe densiflora ? #2 photo © Michael Plagens

Dense clusters of orange-pink flowers at apex of succulent plant. Large, leathery and thick leaves with scalloped margins.

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Stephania abyssinica photo © Michael Plagens

Leaves nearly orbicular with the stem attached at center. Twining vine from woody base. Small whitish flowers.

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Cissampelos pareira photo © Mike Plagens

Herbaceous vine with round or slightly rhombic, velvety leaves. Flowers small, green in long, pendulous spikes.

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Boscia species in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Small tree or shrub with thick lance-shaped leaves. Flowers in spherical clusters followed by berry-like fruit.

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Seaside Caper

sandmat spurge in Nairobi, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Scrambling seaside shrub with long whitish stamens and white petals. Leaves thick and nearly round.

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Sukuma Wiki

Sukuma Wiki, a leafy cole, brassicaceae, photo © Michael Plagens

Widely cultivated variety of kale - an open-leaf variety of cabbage.

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Peppergrass, Lepdium bonariense, photo © Michael Plagens

An herbaceous garden weed in relatively cool highland areas. Fruit appear as small, discs with a small notch at apex.

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Shrubby Dock

Rumex usambarensis in the buckwheat family, polygonaceae, photo © Michael Plagens

This is a shrubby version of the familiar sheep sorrel. Small pink flowers give rise to showy fruit with pink wings.

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Black Bindweed

black bindweed, Polygonum convolvulus, photo © Michael Plagens

Twining plant with heart-shaped leaves and small green-white flowers.

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Knotweed, Persicaria lapathifolia ?, photo © Michael Plagens

Spikes of pink to white flowers on mostly herbaceous plant of wet or submerged soil. Leaves lance-shaped.

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Silene, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Weedy annual or perennial. Leaves opposite at swollen stem nodes. Five pale petals.

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Silene burchellii photo © Mike Plagens

Slender herb with grass-like leaves and with pale lavender blooms. Leaves opposite.

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Cape Plumbago

Plumbago photo © Mike Plagens

Scrambling plant growing almost vine-like up and over other plants. Pale blue flowers with very long tubes in clumps.

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Phytolacca dodecandra photo © Mike Plagens

Scrambling plant reaching several meters and sometimes vine-like. White flowers followed by blue-black berries in spikes. Leaves elyptic.

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Pokeweed in Nairobi photo © Michael Plagens

Spikes of white flowers ripen into purple berries on leafy, shrubby plant. Leaves pubescent.

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Khaki Weed

this plant grows prostrate on soil. Alternanthera, Amaranthaceae, photo © Michael Plagens

Tan, scaley-looking flowers on small plant that grows flat against soil. Broadly elyptic leaves are dark green.

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Scented Goosefoot

Dysphania schraderiana, an aromatic chenopodiaceae, photo © Michael Plagens

An erect herb that may become thick and woody near ground. Very small, mealy, green flowers in clusters. Foliage strongly scented.

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Sumac, Rhus natalensis??, photo © Michael Plagens

Trifoliate leaves shiny and with leaflets tapering to point. Clusters of kidney-shaped berries.

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Mango, Mangifera indica, from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Widely cultivated fruit tree. Dark green, shiny, simple leaves on large tree. Panicles of many small cream flowers.

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Climbing Orange

climbing orange, Toddalia aculeata, photo © Michael Plagens

Woody vine with aromatic, trifoliate leaves and sharp, curved spines along the branches. Small, whitish flowers.

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Cape Chestnut

Cape Chestnut, Rutaceae, photo © Michael Plagens

Tree with dark green, aromatic, alternate leaves, sprays of large lavender flowers and a fruit resembling a bumpy chestnut.

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Commiphora sp. schimperi ?, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Resinous tree with exfoliating bark and gray-green trifoliate leaves. Short, stout thorns also and resinous berries.

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Winged Bersama

Bersama abyssinica in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Tree with long, shiny green,even-compound leaves. Red seeds in spherical capsule. Flowers in spikes.

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Toona ciliata photo © Michael Plagens

Large tree with brown bark and v. long compound leaves. Small white flowers in clusters. From south Asia.

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Neem Tree

Neem Tree, Azadirachta indica, photo © Michael Plagens

Exotic tree for shade and timber. Long pinnate leaves. Small white flowers.

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Natal Mahogany

Natal Mahogany in Kenya, Trichilia emetica, photo © Michael Plagens

Tree. Panicles of fragrant cream flowers. Large compound leaves alternate and with rusty pubescence below.

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Hop Bush

Hop Bush in Coastal Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Evergreen shrub with slightly resinous Elliptical leaves. Fruit a union of three, colorful papery wings. Flowers small, green.

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Fern-leaf, Filicium decipiens, in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Tree. Compound leaves with broad wing on rachis. Small white flowers followed by blue-black berries.

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Three-lobe False Mallow

Malvastrum coromandelianum, a malvaceous plant from Nairobi, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Largely herbaceous plant with yellow or yellow-orange flowers. Five petals and numerous stamens with filaments fuzed into a column.

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Dombeya burgessiae from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Large, heart-shaped leaves help id this shrub or small tree. White or pink tinged five-petaled flowers in groups with numerous fuzed stamens.

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Crossberry, Grewia similis, photo © Michael Plagens

Five pink petals above five longer sepals of a lighter shade. Four-lobed fruit is unique. Small tree/shrub.

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Triumfetta from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Mostly herbaceous plant with small, 5-petalled, yellow flowers and fruit a small sphere with hooked projections.

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Goat's Head

Goat's Head / Puncture Vine from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Also called puncture vine - its seeds can poke holes in tires. Small yellow flowers and pinnate leaves. Trails along the ground.

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Goat's Head #2

Goat's Head / Puncture Vine from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Similar to previous, but with more intricate burred fruit. Leaves and flowers also larger.

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Stinging Nettle

Massai Stinging Nettle, Urtica massaica, photo © Michael Plagens

Robust herbaceous plant with broad, serrated leaves. All foliage is beset with needle-like spines that sting!

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Pilea microphylla, photo © Michael Plagens

Mat-forming herb with rather succulent stems. Very small flowers with papery scales. Introduced.

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Jack Fruit

Jack Fruit, Artocarpus heterophyllus, photo © Michael Plagens

Large tree with big shiny leaves and very large fruits covered with pyramidal bumps. Cultivated in warm, humid areas.

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Sycamore Fig

Sycamore Fig at Lake Bogoria photo © Michael Plagens

Medium to large tree with big, smooth green leaves and thick heavy limbs. Clusters of 4cm dia. fruit are borne in clusters on short branchlets arising from main branches.

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Indian Banyan Tree

Indian Banyan, Ficus benghalensis, photo © Michael Plagens

Aerial roots become additional trunks to support a huge spreading tree. Large, glossy leaves.

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Red Stinkwood

Prunus africanus photo © Michael Plagens

Alternate simple leaves with serrated margins. Medium to large tree with rough bark.

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Loquat tree in a Nairobi garden, photo © Michael Plagens

Medium sized trees with dark green Elliptical leaves grown mostly in gardens for their fruit. Cream-color flowers in panicles. Native to subtropical southeastern China.

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Kenyan Blackberry

Rubus steudneri, Rosaceae, photo © Michael Plagens

Scrambling shrub with sharp prickles on the stems, panicles of pink-hued flowers, folllowed by orange berries. Highland forest edges.

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Soap Creeper

Helinus, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Slender vine with coiled tendrils and ovate leaves. Small white flowers in clusters.

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Coral Bean

Red Hot Poker Tree, Erythrina abyssinica, photo © Michael Plagens

Small or medium sized tree with clumps of bright red tubular flowers, coral-colored beans and trifoliate leaves. Short curved thorns.

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Yellow Bauhinia

Yellow Orchid Tree, Bauhinia tomentosa, photo © Michael Plagens

Bright yellow, bilaterally symetrical flowers have a maroon center. Woody shrub or small tree. Two-lobed leaves are distinctive.

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Fever Tree

Fever Tree photo © Michael Plagens

Tall savanna trees with distinctive yellow, green and brown bark. Leaves twice-compound. White thorns in pairs. Lots of resin oozes from injuries.

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Blackthorn, Acacia mellifera, photo © Michael Plagens

Relatively few, large leaflets in double-compound leaves. Beans in flat, twisted pods. Short hooked spines. Usu. a shrub or rarely a small tree.

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Polygala, wild flower in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Slender herb, mostly obscure but with very curiously shaped flowers. Sunny forest edges. Several species of milkwort found in Kenya.

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small tree of Protea mafingensis from Menangai, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Small sparsely branched tree with elliptical leaves and large flowers with numerous petals.

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exotic plantation tree, silky-oak, photo © Michael Plagens

Feathery, pinnately divided leaves on large forest tree. Bark is dark and fissured. Australian import.

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St John's Wort Bush

Hypericum revolutum, a mountain shrub from Abedares, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

High mountain habitats. Dark green leaves are simple and crowded on ends of branches of stiff-branched shrub. Yellow flowers with many stamens.

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Buttercup Bush, Ochna prob. ovata, photo © Michael Plagens

Leathery elliptical leaves with serrated margins on medium-sized tree. Sepals yellow turning red after yellow petals fall. Fruit turns black when ripe.

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Micky Mouse Bush

Ochna sp. on the grounds of Gede Ruins, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Name refers to the bright red fleshy sepals and black fruit. Five bright yellow petals. Leaves sharply serrate.

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Papaya, Carica papaya, photo © Michael Plagens

Small fruit tree with one main stem, large palmately lobed leaves, and with groups of axillary flowers and large, ovoid fruits.

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Desert Date

Desert Date, a common, throny shade tree, photo © Michael Plagens

Dark green leaves born on branches with many elongate green throns. Solitary flowers and fruits dispersed along the stems.

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Desert Rose, a succulent dogbane, Adenium, photo © Michael Plagens

Stems are thick and succulent and the base may be swollen. Dark green leaves and bright pink flower.

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Pinwheel Milkwood

Pinwheel Jasmine, a cultivated dogbane, photo © Michael Plagens

Evergreen shrub with dark green opposite leaves and milky sap. Fragrant, white, pinwheel-like flowers with 5 petals.

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Plumeria sp. from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

This showy dogbane has been redistributed to tropical gardens around the world from it's American origins.

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a succulent milkweed, photo © Michael Plagens

This milkweed has the appearance of a cactus. One meter tall near Lake Baringo.

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Milkweed Vine

a Milkweed Vine from Kerio View, photo © Michael Plagens

Vine with pairs of very long, slender pods. Seed with long silky hairs. Milky sap from breaks.

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Apple of Sodom

a Milkweed from near Lake Baringo, photo © Michael Plagens

Large robust milkweed with big thick leaves and purple star-shaped flowers. Large globular seed pods.

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Candelabrum Spurge

Euphorbia candelabrum, photo © Wikimedia Contributer Haplochromis

Tree-sized succulent, with smooth, angled, columnar branches. Small green or reddish flowers. Milky sap from cuts. Savannas.

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Sand Mat

sandmat spurge in Nairobi, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Many kinds of very small spurges grow close to the ground and mostly go unnoticed. Minute flowers in dense heads.

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Croton, a euphorbiaceae and large forest tree, photo © Michael Plagens

Matures to a large forest tree. Large leaves are green on top and silvery beneath. Flowers in long, pendulous spikes.

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a shade tree, Bridelia micrantha, photo © Michael Plagens

A shade tree with large elyptic leaves, small yellowish flowers and elypsoid fruits that ripen to black and are sweet.

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leaf of Rhoicissus, photo © Michael Plagens

Vine with toothed, trifoliate leaves and tendrals from stem nodes. Berries about 1cm.

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a succulent vitaceae vine, Cissus sp., photo © Michael Plagens

A succulent member of grape family with green, photosynthetic stems. Draping over a woody shrub.

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a procumbant grape vine, Cyphostemma serpens, photo © Michael Plagens

Dark green, palmately compound leaves on vine like plant in open rangeland. Reddish glands on stems and inflorescence.

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Bougainvillea, planted in the tropics all over the World, photo © Michael Plagens

Non-native. Rank vine forming a shrub on fences or covering another plant sometime in excess of 3 m. Sharp thorns on branches. Brightly colored bracts subtend cream flowers.

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Wort Club

Wort Club vine, Commicarpus plumbagineus at Moshi, Tanzania, photo © Michael Plagens

Long slender stems scramble up and through other plants. Clusters of white funnel-shaped flowers. Club-shaped fruits.

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leaves of Boerhavia coccinea, photo © Michael Plagens

Flowers are very small, but can be bright pink or carmine. Triangular leaves with reddish, wavy margin. Stems swollen at nodes.

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Yellow Sapote

yellow sapote tree in Kerio Valley, photo © Michael Plagens

Large simple leaves on medium to large tree bearing round fruit with yellow, custard-like flesh. Non-native. Cultivated.

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impatiens flower with long nectar spur, photo © Michael Plagens

Bilaterally symetric flower with a long curved nectary spur. elliptical, sharply serrate leaves. Kakamega Forest.

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Hooker's Impatiens ?

Impatiens in an Eldoret area garden, photo © Michael Plagens

This impatiens has all white flowers and lance-shaped, serrated leaves. Might be non-native in cultivation only.

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Small-leaved Guarri

Euclea shrub from Kenya © Michael Plagens

Shrub with evergreen leaves and spherical fruits. Leaf margins wavy.

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Butterfly Bush

Buddleja with silvery leaves, photo © Michael Plagens

Two to three m tall shrub with many stems and spikes of four-parted, small cream flowers.

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Hebenstretia photo © Michael Plagens

Evergreen shrub of montane habitats and edges of elfin forest. Spikes of white flowers.

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Spur-Flower, Plectranthus sp., Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Robust shrubby plant with opposite, deltoid leaves with rounded teeth and ringed clusters of deep purple, two-lipped flowers.

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Lion's Ears

A mint, Leonotis nepetifolia, photo © Michael Plagens

Bright orange tubular flowers emerging from spiny balls of closely packed flowers and seed capsules.

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Meru Oak

Vitex keniensis, photo © Michael Plagens

Forest tree with medium-sized, five-parted, palmately compound leaves. Small flowers and berries in flat-topped panicles.

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Lippia sp. photo © Michael Plagens

Small bluish-white flowers in short, crowded spikes. Leaves with prominent veins and aromatic oils.

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Lantana, an exotic invasive weed in East Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Spherical clusters of orange, red, pink and yellow tubular flowers on fast growing shrub. Aromatic.

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Spiny Acanthus

Robust spiney Acanthus, photo © Michael Plagens

Spikes of lavender-pink flowers above large, spiney-edged leaves. Kakamega Forest.

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Black-eyed Susan Vine

Black-eyed Susan Vine, Thunbergia alata, photo © Michael Plagens

Unmistakeable flower on a vine that grows in gardens and in sunny borders.

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Broad-leaf Plantain

a Plantago, possibly P. major, from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Small pale flowers are set in a slender spike. Herbaceous plant with leaves all basal.

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Ribwort Plantain

a common garden weed in the moister highlands in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

The leaves are grass like, but wider. Flowers, small, in conical cluster upon tall slender spikes.

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Royal Jasmine

Royal Jasmine from Kenya photo © Michael Plagens

Scrambling vine with opposite, compound leaves and fragrant, white flowers with long tubes and five lobes.

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East African Olive tree in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Medium to large dark green tree. Smooth margined, opposite leaves without stipules. Purple drupes with one hard seed.

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Nandi Flame

Nandi Flame, Spathodea campanulata, photo © Michael Plagens

Stately tree with dark green, compound leaves and large clusters of big, orange-red flowers.

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Sausage Tree

Sausage Tree, Kigelia africana, photo © Michael Plagens

Long and heavy fruits hang from the branches like so many sausages set to age. Remarkable flowers also that release scent at night.

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Markamia from Kenya photo © Michael Plagens

Small to medium sized tree with dark green compound leaves and showy, bell-shaped flowers.

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Baobab, Adansonia digitata, photo © Michael Plagens

Distinctive, huge tree of hot, seasonally dry habitats through much of tropical Africa. Thick, massive trunk appears oversized.

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Resurection Plant

Craterostigma pumila, photo © Michael Plagens

After rains these violet-like plants immediately spring up with blue flowers. Broad, ribbed leaves in basal rosette.

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Pterodiscus, , photo © Michael Plagens

Uncommon plant. Opposite leaves on a low, mostly herbaceous plant.

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Angolan Sesame

Sesamum angolense photo © Michael Plagens

Upright, mostly herbaceous stems topped with large lavender, two-lipped blossums.

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Bitter Apple Nightshade

Nightshade, Solanum, photo © Michael Plagens

Very common mostly herbaceous plant at roadsides. Fuzzy leaves, spiney stems, purple flowers and yellow fruits.

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Tobacco Weed

Invasive, non-native and toxic Solanum mauritianum photo © Michael Plagens

Two meter tall shrub or small tree with flat-topped panicles of purple nightshade flowers. Kakmega Forest.

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Murembu Tree

Ehretia cymosa, Boraginaceae, photo © Michael Plagens

Large shrub or many-branched tree with sprays of small white flowers. Twigs with whitish hairs becoming groups of orange berries. Relatively large elyptic leaves.

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a possible Cordia sp. from the Rift Valley, in East Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

White actinomorphic flowers in headlike clusters. Leaves broadly elyptic and leathery. Fruit berry-like but turning hard.

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Large-leafed Cordia, Cordia africana, photo © Michael Plagens

Large ovate leaves, stiff textured and with coarse hairs on veins and stems. Petals 5, white, fragrant flowers. Berries orange when ripe.

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Hound's Tongue

Cynoglossum in Boraginaceae photo © Michael Plagens

Coarse, herbaceous, with blue flowers about a meter tall. Seeds inside clinging burs.

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Golden Dodder, Cuscuta sp., photo © Michael Plagens

Bright orange climbing stems without chlorophyl and without leaves. Small white flowers in clusters. Parasitic.

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an ornamental morning-glory, possibly exotic and invasive in East Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Large, showy tubular-funnel-form flowers on herbaceous vines. Often cultivated on fences.

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Dichondra, a leafy ground cover, photo © Michael Plagens

Prostrate herb with distinctly heart-shaped leaves. Flowers obscure. Often used as ground cover.

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Prickly Pear

non-native Prickly Pear, Opuntia, photo © Michael Plagens

Stems jointed and laterally compressed into round or obong pads. Flowers mostly yellow and with many petals and stamens.

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Cholla Cactus

spiny cactus, Opuntia exaltata, photo © Michael Plagens

Popular fence row plant in semi-arid areas. Native to the Americas. Many sharp spines plus minute hair-like spines.

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parasitic Phragmanthera from Rift Valley Highlands, photo © Michael Plagens

Hemiparasite in trees. Leaves elyptic and dark green on pendulent braches. Orange-red flowers in clusters. This one in green ash.

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a hemiparasitic plant, Viscum, photo © Michael Plagens

Pendulous, parasitic shrub found growing directly out of branches/twigs of a host tree. Groups of reddish or white berries and with leathery leaves.

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a parasitic shrub with clusters of pink flowers in Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Beautiful sprays of pink flowers make this one of the showiest of mistletoes!

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Viola eminii Violet from Mt. Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Low-growing herbaceous plant of moist woodlands and forest edge in mountains.

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Passion Fruit

cultivated purple passion fruit, Passiflora edulis, photo © Michael Plagens

Climbing vine with spectacular, unique flowers. Leaves with two or three lobes and stems bare tendrils for climbing. Widely cultivated for the purple fruit.

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Hairy Willow-herb

Epilobium hirsutum from a marshy area near Eldoret Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Wetland plant with soft, hirsute leaves and pink-magenta flowers with four petals.

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Evening Primrose

Australian import, weeping bottle brush photo © Michael Plagens

Non-native, mostly herbaceous plant with 4-petaled flowers and inferior ovary. Eight stamens and four part stigma.

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Glory Bush

Glory Bush probably Tibouchina multiflora photo © Michael Plagens

Showy, non-native shrub. Leaves with conspicuous parallel veins. Hooked stamens.

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Melastomataceae from Kakamega Forest photo © Michael Plagens

Leaves with conspicuous parallel veins and flower with inferior ovary. Kakamega Forest.

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Bracelet Honey Myrtle

Australian import, Melaleuca armillaris, photo © Michael Plagens

Non-native forest and ornamental tree widely planted in Kenyan. Almost linear leaves and spikes of snowy-white flowers.

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Brush Box

another Australian Tree, Lophostemon confertus, photo © Michael Plagens

Exotic tree from Austalia with white flowers and gum-tree like fruit. Large elyptic leaves with smooth margins.

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Muhutu, Terminalia brownii, © Michael Plagens

Large elyptic leaves clustered near branch ends. Fruit with papery wings.

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Indian Almond

Indian Almond, Terminalia catappa, photo © Michael Plagens

Substantial shade tree found in areas near the beach. The elliptical fruits can float. Large oblong leaves turn red before falling.

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a very large leaf forest plant, Anthocleista vogelii, from East Africa, photo © Michael Plagens

Understory forest tree with tall slender stems and very large, spatulate leaves clustered at ends of branches.

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Egyptian Starcluster

wild version of, Egyptian Starcluster, Pentas lanceolata, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Now widespread around world as an ornamental. Kenya native herb with five-parted, long tubular flowers. Color is white, pink or red.

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Flame of the Woods

ornamental rubiaceae, Ixora coccinea, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Understory shrub with opposite, dark green, elliptical leaves. Four petals on a long tube. Common, introduced ornamental.

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Vanguera madagascariensis of Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Large, multistemmed shrub with opposite, dark green, simple, entire leaves. Fruit is spherical and orange-red.

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Floating Pennywort

Water Pennywort, Hydrocotyl ranunculoides, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Floating plant of marshes and pond edges. Circular leaves are attached at their center and margins wavy.

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Parasol Tree

Parasol Tree, Polyscias fulva, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Tall tree with straight bole. At a considerable height a set of 8 or more radial branches. Pinnate leaves close to a meter long.

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Umbrella Tree

Umbrella Tree, Schefflera abyssinica, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Tree with palmately compound leaves with long petioles and long petiolules. Small, cream-white flowers in umellules and spikes.

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Queensland Umbrella Tree

Australian native planted in mesic gardens of Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Tall tree sparsely branched with very large palmately compound leaves. Red flowers arrayed in many radiating spikes a meter long.

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Begonia species Mt Kenya area, photo © Michael Plagens

Begonias are readily recognized by their unique leaf shape. But many species make id beyond that more challenging.

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Bad-Smell Melon

Australian import, Melaleuca armillaris, photo © Michael Plagens

Cucumbers covered with fleshy spikes and releasing unpleasant odor when cut. Herbaceous vine with tendrils.

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Bad-Smell Melon

Mormodica flower photo © Michael Plagens

Cucumbers covered with fleshy spikes. Herbaceous vine with tendrils. Rather large blooms with pleated/crinkled texture.

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Raphidiocystis (?)

bristled cucumber from Mombasa photo © Michael Plagens

Herbaceous vine with simple tendrils, bright yellow flowers and fruit covered with long, stiff bristles.

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A Lobelia, Campanulaceae, photo © Michael Plagens

Besides the giant Lobelias of the high mountains, there are many smaller wildflower species.

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Camphor Bush

Might be Tarchonanthus from Turbo, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Large shrub to tree-sized member of sunflower family. Flowers white, in bi clusters of ray-less heads. Leaves elyptic and leathery.

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Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower, Tithonia, photo © Michael Plagens

Large yellow-orange composite, but smaller than seed sunflower. Leaves variously three-lobed. Mostly herbaceous up to two meters tall. Garden favorite.

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More Composites/Asteraceae

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 2011, updated 5 Nov. 2018.

Disclaimer: By no means am I an expert on the Natural History of Kenya. I am new to exploring this part of the World. By creating a page for the species as I learn them I am teaching myself while also sharing in discovery. If anyone notices errors I hope that I will be notified via the e-mail address above so that I can make corrections.