The genera of Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae & Swartzieae
Type species: C. comosa Benth.
Habit and leaf form. Trees; unarmed.
Phyllotaxy spiral. The leaves compound; pinnate; imparipinnate; with adaxially grooved rachides. The leaflets leathery, many per leaf to few per leaf; opposite or sub-opposite; petiolulate; without noticeably twisted petiolules; symmetrical or nearly so; pinnately veined, with a predominant midrib. Stipules absent or early caducous or very inconspicuous in mature leaves; membranous. Stipels absent.
Inflorescence and floral morphology. The inflorescences terminal; branched; of racemose units; panicles. The flowers not distichous. Bracts absent at anthesis. Bracteoles present (minute); small, not enclosing the flower buds; absent at anthesis.
The flowers hermaphrodite; pentamerous, or not pentamerous throughout (usually); departing from pentamery in the androecium (usually); coloured. Floral tube length relative to total hypanthium + calyx length about 0.5. Hypanthium present; cupular. Calyx 5; not covering the rest of the flower in bud; polysepalous; more or less regular; members imbricate. Corolla present; slightly irregular; 5; without greatly reduced members; polypetalous. Petals imbricate; imbricate-ascending; yellow, or red. The androecium comprising 15–25 members; members all free of one another; members all more or less equal in length; comprising only fertile stamens. Fertile stamens 15–25. Anthers attached well above the base of the connective; dehiscing introrsely; dehiscing longitudinally. Ovary stipitate; free. Stigma not dilated (or only minutely so). Ovules numerous.
Fruit, seed and seedling. Fruit large, a two-valved pod; plano-compressed, straight to curved; without markedly twisting or enrolling valves; becoming woody. The mature valves without prominent venation. Seeds non-endospermic; not arillate; with a straight or slightly oblique radicle; amyloid-negative. Cotyledons of Type 4; with a vascular system in one plane.
Transverse section of lamina. Druses absent from the mesophyll. Mesophyll secretory cavities absent. Adaxial hypodermis absent. Leaf girders common (the veins transcurrent). Laminae dorsiventral. Mesophyll without unaligned fibres or sclereids. Minor veins mainly with abundant accompanying fibres.
Leaf lamina epidermes. Epidermal crystals not seen either adaxially or abaxially. Simple unbranched hairs common; scabrid. No compound or branched eglandular hairs seen. Capitate glands not seen. Hooked hairs not seen. Cassieae-type leaf pseudo-glands not seen. Expanded and embedded hair-feet absent. Adaxial: Adaxial interveinal epidermal cell walls markedly sinuous in high-focus optical section; not conspicuously pitted; thin. Stomata adaxially very rare. Abaxial: Abaxial stomata predominantly paracytic. Abaxial epidermis not papillate. Abaxial interveinal epidermal cell walls markedly sinuous in high-focus optical section; not conspicuously pitted in optical section; staining normally with safranin; thin.
Wood anatomy. Wood not storied.
Pollen ultrastructure. Tectum punctate; rugulose punctate. Length of colpi greater than one half pole to pole distance (without a margocolpus).
Species number and distribution. 3 species (C. angustifolia, C. comosa, C. macrocarpa). Tropical America.
Miscellaneous. Illustrations: • C. comosa var. laurifolia: Fl. Brasiliensis 15 (1870). • C. comosa, floral details: Baillon, Histoire des Plantes 2 (1870). • C. angustifolia, e.m. scanned pollen (Graham & Barker, 1981).
We advise against extracting comparative information from the descriptions. This is much more easily achieved using the DELTA data files or the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, distributions of character states within any set of taxa, geographical distribution, and classification. See also Guidelines for using data taken from Web publications.
Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1993 onwards. The genera of Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae and Swartzieae: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English and French. Version: 22nd March 2017. delta-intkey.com/caes’.