Toothbrush Bush

Sida tenuicarpa (?)
(S. cuneifolia)

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

This example is from an area along Magadi Road, Kiserian, Kenya, Africa. Dec. 2015.

Another Example:

Sida cuneifolia from Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

SHRUB: Very tough woody stems resist trampling by grazing animals. Stems can grow a meter or more tall if not so heavily grazed. 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 may be notched at the tip; the leaves of this specimen were brighter green and nearly glabrous (smooth, free of hairs) as compared to the earlier example - follow thumb link at lower left.

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 used was Sida tenuicarpa 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.


Malvaceae -- Mallow Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 22 Feb. 2015