A floristic study of the Thicket vegetation in the Licmiti Forest Reserve, southern
Mozambique, was undertaken. Observations on the structure and range of this unique
vegetation type, its species composition, level of endemism and utilisation are provided. A
literature review of the physical environment, soils, climate, vegetation and flora, as well as
historical background, is presented.
The Licuati Thicket covers an area of about 14 000 ha, which is about 35% of the 40 000 ha
covered by the Licmiti Forest Reserve [LFR]. A study of satellite images and aerial
photographs, taken over a period of about 30 years between 1958 and 1989, indicate that no
significant changes took place in the size and distribution of the Licmiti Thicket during this
Attributes such as common names, life history, growth form, fruit type and medicinal uses are
provided for 113 plant taxa. These are presented as a checklist arranged according to family,
with genera and species listed alphabetically within the families. The Licmiti Thicket contains
about 13% of the vascular plants endemic to the Maputaland Centre of Endemism [MC]. The
plant families Rubiaceae, Fabaceae and Celasteraceae contribute the largest numbers of
endemics. The first record of Xylopia torrei N .Robson from southern Mozambique is reported. An
amplified description is provided for the species, supplemented by notes on the comparative
anatomy of the genus in southern Africa.
The Licmiti Forest contains about 45 plants that are utilized by humans for medicinal
purposes. The plant parts most commonly collected are leaves, roots and bark. The traditional
leadership of the Santaca family still plays an important role in the conservation of the Licmiti
ecosystem. An interview was conducted with members of the Santaca family, and some of the
historical and cultural information obtained from this interview are presented in this report.
This study provides information that supports the recognition of the Licmiti Thicket as a
unique vegetation type distinct from Licmlti (Sand) Forest. Both these vegetation types are
endemic to the MC. I trust that this report will raise public awareness of the uniqueness of
this special botanical region in Mozambique and that it will guide reserve management and
sustainable utilisation programmes in the LFR.