Vitex payos

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Vitex payos
Euasterids I
Order : Mint family (Lamiales)
Family : Mint family (Lamiaceae)
Subfamily : Viticoideae
Genre : Vitex
Type : Vitex payos
Scientific name
Vitex payos
( Lour. ) Merr.

Vitex payos is a species of the mint family from central to eastern and southern Africa. From the Congo , Angola to Kenya , Tanzania , Zambia , Malawi to Mozambique and Zimbabwe .


Vitex payos grows as a deciduous, rather slow-growing shrub or small tree to about 8-10 meters high. The brownish bark is thick and cracked to furrowed.

The opposite and stalked leaves are hand-shaped with 3 to 5 slightly leathery leaflets . The petiole is up to 15 inches long. The underside light green, obovate to elliptical and sessile to short-stalked leaflets are up to 19 centimeters long and up to 9.5 centimeters wide. They are more or less hairy to bald and with entire margins and rounded to pointed or pointed, less often indented. The young leaflets are hairy and soft, they then bald.

Axillary, short hairy inflorescences are formed. The small, fragrant and hermaphrodite flowers are white to purple with a double flower envelope . The short-toothed calyx is rusty and hairy. The more or less fine-haired petals are in the typical shape of the mint family.

The round to egg-shaped or ellipsoidal and blackish, smooth drupes with a permanent calyx are up to 1.5–3 centimeters in size. The woody, hairy and hard stone core contains up to 4 seeds.


The sweet, floury fruits with an unusual smell are eaten raw and cooked.

The bark , leaves and roots are used medicinally.

The rather hard wood can be used for various applications.


  • Food and fruit-bearing forest species. 1: Examples from Eastern Africa , FAO Forestry Paper 44/1, FAO 1983, ISBN 92-5-101385-3 , p. 151 ff, online (PDF; 8.3 MB).
  • James Munga Kimondo, Jacob Godfrey Agea, Clement Akais Okia et al .: Physiochemical and nutritional characterization of Vitex payos (Lour.) Merr. (Verbenaceae): An indigenous fruit tree of Eastern Africa. In: Journal of Horticulture and Forestry. Vol. 4 (10), 2012, pp. 161-168, doi: 10.5897 / JHF12.010 , online at

Web links

  • Vitex payos at Useful Tropical Plants.
  • Vitex payos . In: S. Dressler, M. Schmidt, G. Zizka (Eds.): African plants - A Photo Guide. Senckenberg, Frankfurt / Main 2014.
  • Vitex payos at KEWScience (description).
  • Vitex payos at Flora of Malawi (pictures).