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The genera of Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae & Swartzieae

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Guibourtia J.J. Benn

Pseudocopaiva Britt. & Wills.; formerly Copaifera p.p.

Type species: G. copallifera J.J. Benn.

Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs; unarmed.

The leaves compound (usually), or ostensibly simple; when simple, with a predominant midrib; bifoliolate (usually), or pinnate (rarely), or bipinnate (rarely); imparipinnate (rarely), or paripinnate. The leaflets normally 2; opposite or sub-opposite; sessile to sub-sessile; with markedly twisted petiolules, or without noticeably twisted petiolules; markedly asymmetrical (commonly unequal-sided), or symmetrical or nearly so; pinnately veined, with a predominant ‘midrib’ (this often laterally displaced); without a continuous marginal nerve. 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; small, not enclosing the flower buds; absent at anthesis, or persistent beyond anthesis; not valvate; free.

The flowers small; hermaphrodite; not pentamerous throughout; departing from pentamery in the calyx and in the corolla, or in the calyx, in the corolla, and in the androecium (rarely); white or green. Hypanthium absent, the androecium hypogynous. The perianth exclusively sepaline. Calyx 4; covering the rest of the flower in bud; polysepalous; more or less regular; members imbricate. Corolla absent. Disk present and conspicuous (fleshy). The androecium comprising 8–12 members; members all free of one another; members markedly unequal (alternately longer and shorter); comprising only fertile stamens. Fertile stamens (8–)10(–12). Anthers attached well above the base of the connective; dehiscing laterally; dehiscing longitudinally. Ovary sessile or subsessile to stipitate; free. Stigma dilated (capitellate), or dilated to not dilated (on the filiform style). Ovules few, or solitary ((1-)2–4).

Fruit, seed and seedling. Fruit 1–2 seeded, sub-orbicular to obliquely elliptic, flat or dilated, a follicle, or a two-valved pod, or indehiscent; without markedly twisting or enrolling valves; winged longitudinally; unilaterally 1 winged; leathery to membranous, not becoming woody. The mature valves with conspicuous, prominent, raised venation, or without prominent venation; conspicuous venation predominantly longitudinal, or not predominantly longitudinal. Seeds non-endospermic; arillate, or not arillate; with a straight or slightly oblique radicle; amyloid-positive. Cotyledons flat, or not 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 (gland-dots) common; epithelium-lined. 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 present, or not seen either adaxially or abaxially; druses. Simple unbranched hairs common; smooth. 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; hair feet all simple, without vertical walls. Adaxial: Adaxial interveinal epidermal cell walls straight in optical section, or markedly sinuous in high-focus optical section; not conspicuously pitted; of medium thickness. Stomata adaxially common and widespread, or adaxially very rare. Abaxial: Abaxial stomata predominantly paracytic. Abaxial epidermis not papillate. Abaxial interveinal epidermal cell walls straight, or gently undulating, or markedly sinuous in high-focus optical section; conspicuously pitted in optical section; staining normally with safranin.

Wood anatomy. Wood without septate fibres; storied, or not storied; without normal intercellular canals; without traumatic canals. Intervascular pits medium to large.

Cytology. Basic chromosome number, x = 12. 2n = 24.

Species number and distribution. 16–17 species. Tropical America, West Indies, tropical Africa.

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

Miscellaneous. Illustrations: • G. schliebenii: Brenan, Fl. Tropical East Africa (1967). • G. ehie and G. tessmannii: Aubréville, Flore du Gabon (1968). • G. coleosperma (as Copaifera): Engler & Drude, Pflanzenwelt Afrikas 9 (1915). • G. coleosperma and Copaifera baumiana: Baum (1903). • G. demeusei (as Copaifera): Engler, Pflanzenwelt Afrikas (1910).


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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