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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Hippomaneae
Subtribe: Hippomaninae
Genus: Spirostachys
Sond. 1850 not Ung.-Sternb. 1866 nor Sternb. ex S. Wats. 1874, both of the latter in Amaranthaceae

Excoecariopsis Pax

Spirostachys is a plant genus of the family Euphorbiaceae first described as a genus in 1850.[2][3] It is native to Africa.[1][4] Zuloaga, F. O., O. Morrone, M. J. Belgrano, C. Marticorena & E. Marchesi. (eds.) 2008. Catálogo de las plantas vasculares del Cono Sur. Monographs in systematic botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 107(1–3): i–xcvi, 1–3348.

The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek speiros = spiral, stachys = spike, in allusion to the spiral arrangement of the florets on the flower spike.

  1. Spirostachys africana Sond. - E + SE + S Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Province)
  2. Spirostachys venenifera (Pax) Pax - Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania
formerly included[1][5]

moved to other genera (Excoecaria Spegazziniophytum )

  1. Spirostachys madagascariensis, syn of Excoecaria madagascariensis
  2. Spirostachys patagonica, syn of Spegazziniophytum patagonicum
names in Amaranthaceae

The same genus name, Spirostachys, was used twice to name genera in the Amaranthaceae. Thus were created two illegitimate homonyms, unacceptable according to the rules of nomenclature. The species assigned to these genera have been placed in the genera Allenrolfea and Heterostachys, as follows:[5]

  1. Spirostachys occidentalis (S. Watson) S. Watson 1874, now Allenrolfea occidentalis (S.Watson) Kuntze
  2. Spirostachys olivascens Speg. 1902, now Heterostachys olivascens (Speg.) Molfino
  3. Spirostachys ritteriana (Moq.) Ung.-Sternb. 1866, now Heterostachys ritteriana (Moq.) Ung.-Sternb.
  4. Spirostachys vaginata Griseb. 1874, now Allenrolfea vaginata (Griseb.) Kuntze
  5. Spirostachys vaginata Benth. & Hook.f. - unresolved


  1. ^ a b c d Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Sonder, Otto Wilhelm. 1850. Linnaea : Ein Journal für die Botanik in ihrem ganzen Umfange 23: 106 in Latin except for locale of type collection, this in German
  3. ^ Tropicos, Spirostachys Sond.
  4. ^ Govaerts, R., Frodin, D.G. & Radcliffe-Smith, A. (2000). World Checklist and Bibliography of Euphorbiaceae (and Pandaceae) 1-4: 1-1622. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  5. ^ a b Tropicos, search for name Falconeria