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The genera of Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae & Swartzieae

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Colophospermum Kirk ex J. Léon.

Copaifera mopane Benth.

Type species: C. mopane Kirk.

Habit and leaf form. Trees; unarmed.

Phyllotaxy spiral. The leaves compound; bifoliolate; paripinnate. The leaflets few per leaf (two); opposite or sub-opposite; sessile to sub-sessile; leathery, markedly asymmetrical (very obliquely ovate); with a strong, continuous marginal nerve. Stipules absent or early caducous or very inconspicuous in mature leaves; membranous. Stipels absent.

Inflorescence and floral morphology. The inflorescences unbranched, or branched; of racemose units; panicles. The flowers not distichous. Bracts absent at anthesis (caducous, minute). Bracteoles absent; absent at anthesis.

The flowers small; hermaphrodite; not pentamerous throughout; departing from pentamery in the calyx, in the corolla, and in the androecium. Hypanthium absent, the androecium hypogynous. The perianth exclusively sepaline. Calyx 4; polysepalous; more or less regular; members imbricate. Corolla absent. Disk absent (or small). The androecium comprising 20–25 members; members all free of one another; members all more or less equal in length; comprising only fertile stamens. Fertile stamens 20–25. Anthers attached well above the base of the connective; dehiscing laterally. Ovary stipitate. Stigma dilated. Ovules solitary.

Fruit, seed and seedling. Fruit stipitate, reniform, compressed, 1-seeded, indehiscent; without markedly twisting or enrolling valves; not becoming woody. The mature valves with conspicuous, prominent, raised venation to without prominent venation (?); conspicuous venation if present, oblique or reticulate, not predominantly longitudinal. Seeds not arillate; with a straight or slightly oblique radicle; amyloid-negative. Cotyledons not flat; of Type 2; epigeal.

Transverse section of lamina. Leaves with conspicuous phloem transfer cells in the minor veins. Druses common in the mesophyll. Mesophyll secretory cavities (gland-dots) common; epithelium-lined. Adaxial hypodermis absent. Leaf girders absent. Laminae isobilateral, with adaxial and abaxial palisades. 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 not seen. No compound or branched eglandular hairs seen. Capitate glands not seen. Expanded and embedded hair-feet absent. Adaxial: Adaxial interveinal epidermal cell walls straight in optical section; not conspicuously pitted; thin. Stomata adaxially common and widespread. Abaxial: Abaxial stomata predominantly paracytic. Abaxial epidermis not papillate. Abaxial interveinal epidermal cell walls straight, or gently undulating; not conspicuously pitted in optical section; staining normally with safranin; thin.

Pollen ultrastructure. Tectum reticulate; finely to moderately regularly reticulate. Length of colpi inapplicable — grain periporate.

Cytology. Basic chromosome number, x = 17 and 18. 2n = 36.

Species number and distribution. 1 species (C. mopane). Southern tropical Africa.

Tribe. Detarieae; Prioria clade of Bruneau et al. (2008).

Miscellaneous. Illustrations: • C. mopane (as Copaifera): Engler & Drude, Pflanzenwelt Afrikas 9 (1915).


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’.

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