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The genera of Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae & Swartzieae

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Cryptosepalum Benth.

Dewindtia De Wild., Pynaertioodendron De Wild.

Type species: C. tetraphyllum (Hook. f.) Benth.

Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs, or herbs, or climbers or scramblers; without tendrils; unarmed.

Phyllotaxy spiral. The leaves compound (usually), or ostensibly simple; pinnate, or bifoliolate; paripinnate. The leaflets many per leaf, or few per leaf; opposite or sub-opposite; sessile to sub-sessile; without a continuous marginal nerve. Stipules absent or early caducous or very inconspicuous in mature leaves; membranous; connate, or not connate. Stipels absent.

Inflorescence and floral morphology. The inflorescences axillary and terminal; unbranched; short, simple racemes. The flowers not distichous. Bracts minute, caducous, absent at anthesis. Bracteoles present; relatively large and enclosing the flower buds; persistent beyond anthesis; valvate.

The flowers small; 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 present; cupular. The perianth obscurely comprising distinct calyx and corolla, or exclusively petaline. Calyx obscurely present, or absent; if vestiges detectable, 1–6; not covering the rest of the flower in bud; not Swartzieae type; polysepalous. Corolla present, or absent (rarely); when present, very irregular; when present, i.e. usually 1, or 2–3 (rarely); without greatly reduced members; polypetalous (rarely), or monopetalous (usually represented by one orbicular petal). Petals sessile. Disk absent. The androecium comprising 3–8 members; including staminodia, or comprising only fertile stamens. Fertile stamens 3–6, or 8 (rarely). Anthers attached well above the base of the connective. Ovary stipitate; eccentric, with the stipe adnate (the style filiform). Stigma conspicuously dilated. Ovules few.

Fruit, seed and seedling. Fruit a two-valved pod; valves twisting and enrolling during dehiscence; winged longitudinally, or not noticeably winged; 1 winged; obliquely oblong, compressed, shortly beaked, becoming woody. The mature valves with conspicuous, prominent, raised venation, or without prominent venation; conspicuous venation not predominantly longitudinal. Seeds not arillate; with a straight or slightly oblique radicle; amyloid-positive. Cotyledons flat; of Type 4; with a vascular system in one plane; epigeal.

Transverse section of lamina. Leaves with conspicuous phloem transfer cells in the minor veins. Druses absent from the mesophyll. Mesophyll secretory cavities absent. Adaxial hypodermis absent. Leaf girders absent. 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 present, or absent; all medium to thick-walled; hair feet all simple, without vertical walls. Basally bent hairs present. Adaxial: Adaxial interveinal epidermal cell walls markedly sinuous in high-focus optical section; not conspicuously pitted; thick. 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.

Wood anatomy. Wood not storied.

Species number and distribution. 11 species. Tropical and southern Africa.

Tribe. Detarieae (Amherstieae of Cowan and Polhill 1981); Amherstieae clade of Bruneau et al. (2008).

Miscellaneous. Illustrations: • C. maraviense: Brenan, Fl. Tropical East Africa (1967). • C. maraviense (as dasycladum): Engler & Drude, Pflanzenwelt Afrikas 9 (1915). • C. congolanum and C. pellegrinianum: Aubréville, Flore du Gabon (1968).


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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