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The genera of Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae & Swartzieae

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Cordyla Lour.

Calycandra Lepr. ex A. Rich.

Type species: C. africana Lour.

Habit and leaf form. Trees; unarmed.

The leaves compound; pinnate; imparipinnate. The leaflets many per leaf; alternate; petiolulate; without noticeably twisted petiolules. Stipules absent or early caducous or very inconspicuous in mature leaves. Stipels absent.

Inflorescence and floral morphology. The inflorescences at older nodes, or rarely axillary; unbranched, or branched; when branched, of racemose units; simple racemes, or fascicles. The flowers not distichous. Bracts absent at anthesis, or persistent beyond anthesis. Bracteoles present; small, not enclosing the flower buds; absent at anthesis.

The flowers hermaphrodite; not pentamerous throughout; departing from pentamery in the calyx, in the corolla, and in the androecium. Floral tube length relative to total hypanthium + calyx length about 0.5. Hypanthium absent, the androecium hypogynous. The perianth exclusively sepaline. Calyx 3–5; covering the rest of the flower in bud; Swartzieae type (closed before flowering, splitting more or less irregularly into valvate lobes or teeth); gamosepalous; members not imbricate. Corolla absent. Disk present and conspicuous. The androecium comprising about 26–50 members (numerous); with united members, or members all free of one another; members all more or less equal in length; comprising only fertile stamens. Fertile stamens 26 (or more: numerous). Anthers attached at the base of the connective; dehiscing longitudinally. Ovary stipitate; free. Stigma not dilated. Ovules numerous.

Fruit, seed and seedling. Fruit indehiscent. The mature valves with conspicuous, prominent, raised venation; conspicuous venation oblique and reticulate, not predominantly longitudinal. Seeds endospermic; not arillate; with an inflexed radicle; amyloid-negative; with starch. Cotyledons not flat.

Transverse section of lamina. Leaves without conspicuous phloem transfer cells in the minor veins. Druses absent from the mesophyll. Mesophyll secretory cavities (gland-dots) common; without a lining of epithelium. Adaxial hypodermis absent. Leaf girders absent. Laminae dorsiventral. Mesophyll without unaligned fibres or sclereids. Minor veins lacking accompanying fibrous tissue.

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 straight in optical section; conspicuously pitted; thin. Stomata adaxially very rare. Abaxial: Abaxial stomata not predominantly paracytic (anomcytic and cyclocytic). Abaxial epidermis papillate interveinally; with papillae over-arching the stomata. Abaxial interveinal epidermal cell walls straight, or gently undulating; conspicuously pitted in optical section; scarcely staining with safranin; thin.

Wood anatomy. Wood storied.

Pollen ultrastructure. Tectum punctate; rugulose punctate. Length of colpi greater than one half pole to pole distance.

Cytology. Basic chromosome number, x = 10.

Species number and distribution. 5–7 species. Southern and tropical Africa.

Tribe. Papilionoideae-Amburaneae (former Swartzieae).

Miscellaneous. Illustrations: • C. africana: Brenan, Fl. Tropical East Africa (1967).


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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