SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.51 issue2Clarification of the confusion surrounding the generic name Bryomorphe Harv. (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae), and the new genus Muscosomorphe J.C.ManningOthonna koos-bekkeri Van Jaarsv. is a synonym of Othonna cerarioides Magoswana & J.C.Manning (Asteraceae: Othonninae) author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


Bothalia - African Biodiversity & Conservation

On-line version ISSN 2311-9284
Print version ISSN 0006-8241

Bothalia (Online) vol.51 n.2 Pretoria  2021 



Chlorophytum boomense (Agavaceae) is a synonym of C. namaquense from southern Namibia and the Northern Cape, South Africa



John C. ManningI, II; Pieter C. van WykIII

ICompton Herbarium, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Private Bag X7, 7735 Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa
IIResearch Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
IIIRichtersveld National Park, Nursery & Richtersveld Desert Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 406, Alexander Bay 8290, South Africa





Chlorophytum boomense (Agavaceae), a local endemic from southern Namibia, is found to be morphologically indistinguishable from C. namaquense, which ranges from southern Namibia to central Namaqualand, and is consequently synonymised in that species.

Keywords: Greater Cape Floristic Region; Namaqualand; Namibia; Taxonomy




Chlorophytum Ker Gawl. (Agavaceae) (sensu APGII 2003; Manning & Goldblatt 2012) includes 150-200 species of rhizomatous perennials distributed widely through the Old World tropics and subtropics, with its centre of diversity in Africa (Conran 1998; Manning 2017). The genus is well represented in southern Africa, with 40 species currently recorded from the subcontinent, twelve of which are endemic to the winter-rainfall parts of the Greater Cape Floristic Region (Manning & Goldblatt 2012; Snijman 2013; Kativu & Bjorâ 2016; Manning 2017).

The southern African species were last revised some years ago by Obermeyer (1962) [see Archer and Kativu (2001) for nomenclatural corrections], but the Namibian species were more recently treated by Kativu et al. (2012). Since these publications, two additional species have been described from South Africa (Van Jaarsveld 2014; Manning 2017) and another from southern Namibia (Kativu & Bjorâ 2016). The latter, C. boomense Kativu, was described from a single population from Ai-Ais Hotsprings Game Park just east of Rosh Pinah in southern Namibia. We are unable to distinguish it from C. namaquense Schltr. ex Poelln. from the Northern Cape, South Africa and southern Namibia, and formally synonymise it here.


Materials and Methods

All relevant material was examined in BOL, NBG, PRE and SAM (abbreviations following Thiers (2016)), the herbaria containing significant holdings of southern African flora. Author names are abbreviated according to the International Plant Names Index (



Chlorophytum boomense is known from a single population along the Boom River near its confluence with the Orange River ± 30 km east of Rosh Pinah in southern Namibia. It was recognised as new through comparison with other species recorded from central and southern Africa, and was diagnosed against the tropical African C. subpetiolatum (Baker) Kativu on the basis of their similar roots, tapering to the tips, but is otherwise morphologically different from that taxon, and the two are evidently only distantly related (Kativu & Bjorâ 2016). Chlorophytum boomense is otherwise unremarkable among the southern African members of the genus with pedicels articulated at or below the middle in having glabrous, subdistichous, linear to narrowly lanceolate leaves 8-12 mm wide, and a simple, racemose inflorescence of moderately large flowers with sparsely papillate filaments.

Chlorophytum namaquense, which was described from plants from Springbok in northern Namaqualand, was considered for a long time to be a relatively rare endemic from the immediate area (Obermeyer 1962) but is now known to occur more widely, ranging from Rosh Pinah in southern Namibia through the Richtersveld as far as Soebatsfontein in central Namaqualand, South Africa (Snijman 2013). It is diagnosed by its slender roots, elongated rosette of glabrous, lanceolate leaves to 25 mm wide with unthickened, sparsely setulose margins, and ± simple raceme of moderately large flowers with scabrid filaments, and pedicels articulated near the middle (Obermeyer 1962). Although the roots were described as slender, Obermeyer (1962) suggested that they were probably soft and spongy when young, and this is borne out in more recent collections, which have slender, tapering roots indistinguishable from C. boomense. The similarity between these two species, as well the occurrence of C. namaquense in Namibia, was overlooked by Kativu and Bjorâ (2016).

A summary of taxonomically useful features in the two species (Table 1) fails to reveal any significant differences between them and we accordingly reduce C. boomense to synonymy.



Chlorophytum namaquense Schltr. ex Poelln. in Berichte der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft 61: 207 (1943). Type: South Africa, Northern Cape, Springbok (2917): Namaqualand, Vogelklip, (-DB), Oct 1897, Schlechter 11295 (Bt, holo.; PRE, iso.!).

Chlorophytum boomense Kativu in Kativu and Bjorâ in Plant Ecology and Evolution 149: 342 (2016), syn. nov. Type: Namibia, Chamaites (2717): Ai-Ais Hotsprings Game Park, Orange River Mountain (Boom River), (-CC), 12 Sep 2012, Nanyeni 380 (WIND, holo.-image!; SRGH, WIND, iso.).

Additional representative specimens examined

Namibia. 2717 (Chamaites): Rosh Pinah, hills E of Dan-imub Reserve, (-CC), 4 Sept 2000, Bruyns 8871 (NBG). South Africa. NORTHERN CAPE. 2816 (Oranjemund): Richtersveld National Park, (-BB), 7 Nov 1995, G & F Williamson 5841 (NBG). 2817 (Vioolsdrift): Kliphoogte, (-CD), 11 Sept 1929, Herre STE11482 (NBG); Kouefontein, (-CD), 15 Aug 1979, Van Berkel 108 (NBG). 2917 (Springbok): Kourkammaberg, (-CD), 25 Aug 1999, Desmet 266 (NBG); Spektakel, (-DA), 9 Sept 1950, Barker 6729 (NBG); 3.5 km E of Nababeep and 1.5 km N of Divide Copper Mine, (-DB), 18 Aug 1987, Hilton-Taylor 2104 (NBG); 10 mi [16 km] N of Komaggas, (-DC), 4 Sept 1951, Compton 22799 (NBG); Misklip [Mesklip], (DD), 28 Aug 1935, Compton 5869 (NBG); 25 Aug 1941, Barker 1883 (NBG). 3017 (Hondeklipbaai): Boskloof, Kookfontein farm, 10 km NE of Soebatsfontein, (-BA), 2 Sept 1986, Hilton-Taylor 1346 (NBG).



Angiosperm Phylogeny Group II, 2003, 'An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants APGII', Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141: 399-436,         [ Links ]

Archer, C. & Kativu, S., 2001, 'The correct name in Chlorophytum (Anthericaceae) for Anthericum longistylum', Bothalia 31: 40-41,         [ Links ]

Conran, J.G., 1998, 'Anthericaceae', In K. Kubitzki (ed), The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants III. Flowering Plants, Monocotyledons, Lilianeae (except Orchidaceae): 114- 121, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.         [ Links ]

Kativu, S., Bjorâ, C.S., Kwembenya, E.G., Klaassen, E.S. & Nordal, I., 2012, 'Anthericaeae', Flora of Namibia. Occasional Contributions 4. National Botanical Research Institute, Windhoek.         [ Links ]

Kativu, S. & Bjorâ, C.S., 2016, 'A new species of Chlorophy-tum (Asparagaceae) from the succulent Karoo biome, Namibia - with an updated key for Chlorophytum of Namibia', Plant Ecology and Evolution 149: 339-346,         [ Links ]

Manning, J.C., 2017, 'Chlorophytum asperum (Agavaceae), a new species from Northern Cape, South Africa', South African Journal of Botany 111: 316-318,         [ Links ]

Manning, J.C. & Goldblatt, P, 2012, Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region 1: The Core Cape Flora, Strelitzia 29. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.         [ Links ]

Obermeyer, A.A., 1962, 'A revision of the South African species of Anthericum, Chlorophytum and Trachyandra', Bothalia 7: 669-778,         [ Links ]

Poellnitz, K. Von, 1943, 'Neue afrikanische Planzen', Berichte der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft 61: 204-209.         [ Links ]

Snijman, D., 2013, Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region 2: The Extra Cape Flora, Strelitzia 30. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.         [ Links ]

Thiers, B., 2016, Index Herbariorum: A Global Directory of Public Herbaria and Associated Staff. New York Botanical Garden's Virtual Herbarium,         [ Links ]

Van Jaarsveld, E., 2014, 'Chlorophytum cremnophilum (Anthericaceae), a new caulescent succulent cliff-hanger from the Eastern Cape (RSA)', Bradleya 32: 19-24.         [ Links ]



John C. Manning

Submitted: 30 October 2020
Accepted: 16 August 2021
Published: 12 October 2021

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License