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Maranthes glabra (Oliv.) Prance

General Information

The dried leaves of this species are one of the easiest ways to identify it: they dry to a very dark reddish brown colour. The slash is distinctive, being always red, sometimes quite dark red and with some reddish juice at the centre. The zygomorphic flowers occur in dense, flat inflorescences which are held horizontally and are up to 20 cm wide. The fruit are about 3.5 cm long. The family Chrysobalanaceae has often, in the past, been treated as part of the rose family (Rosaceae). When comparing a rose to this species the connection is not immediately obvious. On examining the plant, however, one can see some things in common: numerous stamens, a hypanthium (a tube below the calyx and corolla), drupes and stipules. Alas, these are false clues; the two families are not very closely related at all.


Terra firma and seasonally flooded forest.


Distribution: Sierra Leone to DRC, Gabon and Angola.