Zostera capensis Setch.
  • Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 19: 815 (1933) 

Notes: Distribution: SE. Kenya to S. Africa, Madagascar

General Description

Perennial herb; rhizome slender, 0.5–2 mm in diameter with 1–2(–3) roots and a prophyllum or leaf at each node; stems of leafy branches arising from axils of rhizomatic leaves, with 2–5 leaves; stems of fertile branches developing from lateral branches, 0.5–10(–25) cm high, with 1–7 spathes. Leaves dark green, 2–30(–135) cm long, 0.5–2.5 mm wide, 3-nerved with 2–4 accessory bundles in between, the midrib widening at apex, apex asymmetrically rounded, eventually emarginate; sheath membranous, 1–5(–7) cm long, open, with membranous flaps, more enveloping proximally, biauriculate, 3-nerved. Spathes pedunculate, the peduncle connate with the stem axis for up to 3.5 cm, free for 1.4–3.3 cm; prophyll 1–2.5 cm long, 1.5–2.5 mm wide; spathe-sheath 0.8–2.5 cm long, 1.5–2.5 mm wide, amplexicaul; spathe-blade to 6.5(–10) cm long, deciduous after flowering; spadix 1–1.5 cm long, 1–3 mm wide, with 6–10 flowers, the retinacula obovate to triangular, 0.5–1.5 mm long, 0.5–1 mm wide. Stamens shed after liberation of pollen. Pistillate flowers with ovary 1–2 mm long, style 1–1.5 mm long, stigmatic arms 1.5 mm long. Fruit indehiscent, yellowish brown, narrowly ovoid, 2–2.5 mm long, 1 mm wide, faintly 20–24-striate; seed ellipsoid, flattened at one end, 2–2.5 mm long, with reddish brown testa. Fig. 1.


HAB. Inshore sandbanks or mudflats in fairly shallow water; exposed at mean low tide


Kenya Lamu, opposite Forest House, Feb. 1956, Greenway & Rawlins 8902!;

Tanzania Reported from Dar es Salaam (fide Isaac, 1968)

Kenya Likoni ( Isaac 105, checked by Q. Luke in EA!) and reported from Gazi ( Isaac 98, fide Isaac 1968, specimen not seen) & Shimo la Tewa, Dec. 1965, Isaac A109! (mixed collection)


in Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. Washington 19: 815 (1933); Adamson in Fl. Cap. Penins.: 37 (1950); Oberm. in F.S.A. 1: 58, t. 14 (1966); Isaacs in Journ. E. Afr. Nat. Hist. Soc. 27: 32, t. 1/a–d (1968); Moorjani & Simpson in Seaweeds Kenya Coast: 10, t. 8 (1988).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • South Tropical Africa Angola
  • Mozambique
  • Southern Africa Cape Provinces
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Western Indian Ocean Madagascar


  • 1 Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola. Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • 2 Kuo, J. & de Hertog, C. (2001). Seagrass taxonomy and identification key. Global Seagrass Research Methods: 31-78. Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.
  • 3 H. J. Beentje, M.Sc., Ph.D., F.L.S. (1999) Zosteraceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa 0 (0)

 Information From

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
WCS higher taxonomy
  • B All Rights Reserved
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
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