Toothbrush Bush

Sida schimperiana (?)
(S. cuneifolia)

Sida cuneifolia complex, a mallow species from Nairobi, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

This trampled down shrub resists grazing in a pasture area near Eldoret, Kenya, Africa. January 2012.

Another Example:

Glabrous leaved Sida cuneifolia from Kiserian, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

SHRUB: Very tough woody stems resist trampling by grazing animals. Stems can also grow a meter or more tall if left ungrazed. The tough and fibrous stems have been used for cleaning the teeth.

FLOWERS: Yellow. Mallow flowers are easy to recognize. There are five distinct petals and five sepals. Numerous stamens arise from a fleshy column derived from the fused filaments.

LEAVES: Elliptic leaves are notched or toothed at the apex; there can be small teeth also in some populations, but this specimen has smooth margins.

RANGE: One or more species of Sida are likely to be found in most areas of Kenya except for very dry deserts. The Sida cuneifolia complex of species was studied by Vollesen (1986) and divided into several similar species. The name Sida schimperiana in Agnew (2013) seems consistent with this example. Clearly, the field naturalist will not have much luck resolving species.

FRUIT: The dryish capsule breaks smoothly into five or so segments.

UNARMED. Without spines but the hairs on leaves and stems are course and unpleasant to the touch.

Malvaceae -- Mallow Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 16 Oct. 2012