A taxonomic study of the Blepharis edulis complex (Acanthaceae) in Eastern Africa

  • Itambo Malombe PO Box 45166, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Ensermu Kelbessa PO Box 3434, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Muthama Muasya PO Box 45166, Nairobi, Kenya


The variable species Blepharis edulis, as well as the recently described B. boranensis, is investigated in Eastern Africa using phenetic analysis of gross morphological data supplemented with field observations and pollen morphology studies. Two species, B. edulis and B. boranensis, occuring in the drylands of Eastern Africa are confirmed, with the latter occuring in Borana region (Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia) and Sodere, Ethiopia, while the former remains variable and widespread. The two species are separated by number and distribution of spines on leaf margin: fewer, sparse or restricted towards leaf base in B. edulis whereas more and evenly distributed in B. boranensis. An identification key and species descriptions are provided.

Journal of East African Natural History Vol. 91 (1&2) 2002: pp. 81-90

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1026-1613
print ISSN: 0012-8317