A new generic system for the pantropical Caesalpinia group (Leguminosae)

PhytoKeys. 2016 Oct 12:(71):1-160. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.71.9203. eCollection 2016.


The Caesalpinia group is a large pantropical clade of ca. 205 species in subfamily Caesalpinioideae (Leguminosae) in which generic delimitation has been in a state of considerable flux. Here we present new phylogenetic analyses based on five plastid and one nuclear ribosomal marker, with dense taxon sampling including 172 (84%) of the species and representatives of all previously described genera in the Caesalpinia group. These analyses show that the current classification of the Caesalpinia group into 21 genera needs to be revised. Several genera (Poincianella, Erythrostemon, Cenostigma and Caesalpinia sensu Lewis, 2005) are non-monophyletic and several previously unclassified Asian species segregate into clades that merit recognition at generic rank. In addition, the near-completeness of our taxon sampling identifies three species that do not belong in any of the main clades and these are recognised as new monospecific genera. A new generic classification of the Caesalpinia group is presented including a key for the identification of genera, full generic descriptions, illustrations (drawings and photo plates of all genera), and (for most genera) the nomenclatural transfer of species to their correct genus. We recognise 26 genera, with reinstatement of two previously described genera (Biancaea Tod., Denisophytum R. Vig.), re-delimitation and expansion of several others (Moullava, Cenostigma, Libidibia and Erythrostemon), contraction of Caesalpinia s.s. and description of four new ones (Gelrebia, Paubrasilia, Hererolandia and Hultholia), and make 75 new nomenclatural combinations in this new generic system.

Keywords: Caesalpinioideae; Fabaceae; Leguminosae; Mimosoideae-Caesalpinieae-Cassieae clade; generic delimitation; phylogeny; taxonomy.

Associated data

  • Dryad/10.5061/dryad.f4h2h