Scientific name

Mesanthemum Körn.



Native distribution

tropical Africa and Madagascar; concentrated especially in West Africa and from S. Zaire to N. Zambia

Species cultivated

Mesanthemum sp. 'Africa'

Adventive distribution

information not available

Weed status

information not available


terrestrial, emergent, seasonally submerged, or submerged herb

Brief description

Small rosette. Rhizomatous; stem compact. Leaves basal; leaf blade linear, spongy; apex acute; base sheathing; venation parallel; leaves and scapes usually hairy. Inflorescence an axillary, globose or flattened head, white-hairy; scapes few, many-ribbed; involucral bracts in several series, overlapping, coriaceous; floral bracts filiform with expanded hairy tips. Male flowers: sepals 3, membranous, free or basally connate; petals a fleshy tube, shallowly 3-lobed; stamens 6, anthers yellowish. Female flowers: sepals 3, free; petals 3, free at base; 3 linear brownish glands within tube; tube apex densely white-pilose; stigmas 3, simple.

Natural habitat

humid terrestrial to aquatic habitat; coastal acidic/siliceous sand, sandstone walls, mossy granitic hard-pan, boggy areas in grassland savannas, sphagnum bog, wet hollows, swamps, pools on ferruginous hard-pans in grassy savanna, lake margins, running waters

Additional comments

Mesanthemum contains 15 species. M. reductum H.E. Hess grows totally submerged in swift-flowing water.