Vangueria madagascariensis

Vangueria madagacariensis photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed on heavily grazed rangeland west of Eldoret, Kenya. April 2013.

I found groups of a colorful spittlebugs on the stems with both adults and froth-covered nymphs present. These feed on the plant's sap through piercing-sucking mouthparts.

Spittle Bug

Spittle Bug

leaves and stipules of Vangueria madagacariensis photo © by Michael Plagens Some Vangueria species are reported to contain poisons that can make cattle or goats ill thus this plant can grow lushly on pastures where there is too heavy grazing - the animals know to avoid it. The woody portions rise to several meters in height and support dense dark green foliage. The leaves are opposite on the stems and the leaf margins are smooth. The stipules at the base of the leaves are fused and for this species are elongated into a narrow appendage. The flowers are borne in clusters and give rise to spherical fruits, orange-red in color, containing about four seeds, and with edible floesh.

Rubiaceae -- Madder Family

Vanguera madagascariensis of Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 27 Nov. 2013