Sauromatum Schott
  • H.W.Schott & S.L.Endlicher, Melet. Bot.: 17 (1832) 

Notes: Distribution: Trop. Africa, Trop. & Subtrop. Asia to N. China

General Description

Terrestrial acaulescent herbs with subglobose tubers, seasonally dying back and dormant. Leaf solitary, subtended by several basal cataphylls; petiole with inconspicuous sheath, lacking apical pulvinus; blade deeply pedately-lobed; venation reticulate, primary lateral veins of lobes forming inframarginal veins. Inflorescence solitary, appearing before leaf. Spathe borne at ground-level, erect, margins connate basally forming a tube, somewhat inflated at extreme base, upper expanded limb much longer, narrowly oblong-lanceolate. Spadix with short ± cylindric basal pistillate part, followed by much longer sterile zone, naked apart from filiform to clavate projections at base; central staminate part short and cylindric, followed by slender, ± cylindric, smooth, sterile, terminal appendix. Flowers unisexual, lacking perigon, densely congested. Stamens free, ± sessile; anthers dehiscing by oblique apical pores; connective slender. Ovary unilocular; ovules orthotropous, 1–4, basal; stigma subsessile, capitate. Berries purple to red, densely congested in subglobose infructescence. Seeds with abundant endosperm.

Diagnostic Description

Sauromatum can be separated from all other Areae genera by a combination of four characters Sauromatum: has (1) pedatisect leaves; (2) a spathe tube with fused margins, (3) clavate lower staminodes; and (iv) upper staminodes that are differently shaped from the lower ones and/or longitudinal ridges on the spadix between the lower staminodes and the stamens. The ridges on the spadix may represent vestigial staminode bases, as is visible in S. giganteum. When the last two of these four characters apply and a species has pedatisect leaves and/or a fused spathe tube, then it can be assigned to Sauromatum.


in Schott & Endl., Melet. Bot.: 17 (1832); Engl. in E.P. 73 (IV. 23F): 122 (1920)

Melet. 1: 17 (1832); F.T.A. 8: 141; Hepper in Kew Bull. 21: 492 (1968).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Northeast Tropical Africa Ethiopia
  • South Tropical Africa Angola
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Zambia
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Gabon
  • Gulf of Guinea Is.
  • Zaire
  • Asia-Temperate Arabian Peninsula Saudi Arabia
  • Yemen
  • China China North-Central
  • China South-Central
  • China Southeast
  • Manchuria
  • Tibet
  • Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent Assam
  • Bangladesh
  • East Himalaya
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • West Himalaya
  • Indo-China Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Malesia Jawa
  • Lesser Sunda Is.
  • Sumatera


  • 1 Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2010). Flora of China 23: 1-515. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
  • 2 Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 3 S.J. Mayo (1985) Araceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa
  • 4 F.n. Hepper (1968) Araceae. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3(1)
  • 5 Cusimano, N., Barrett, M.D., Hetterscheid, W.L.A. & Renner, S.Sabine A phylogeny of the Areae (Araceae) implies that Typhonium, Sauromatum, and the Australian species of Typhonium are distinct clades. 59, (2010).

 Information From

Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2004. eFloras: Iridaceae. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2013-08-02]
  • A All Rights Reserved
  • B
Flora of West Tropical Aftrica (FWTA)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2004. eFloras: Iridaceae. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2013-08-02]
  • C All Rights Reserved
  • D
CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 14 Dec 2011 . 17 Dec 2011.
  • E All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • F Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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; Retrieved 2011 onwards
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