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The genera of Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae & Swartzieae

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Prioria Griseb.

Type species: P. copaifera Griseb.

Habit and leaf form. Tall, resinous trees; unarmed.

Phyllotaxy spiral. The leaves compound; pinnate, or bifoliolate; paripinnate. The leaflets few per leaf (one or two pairs); opposite or sub-opposite; petiolulate; without noticeably twisted petiolules; leathery, glandular-punctate, broadly oblong, markedly asymmetrical to symmetrical or nearly so; pinnately veined, with a predominant ‘midrib’; without a continuous marginal nerve. Stipules absent or early caducous or very inconspicuous in mature leaves (caducous); membranous (scale-like). Stipels absent.

Inflorescence and floral morphology. The inflorescences terminal; branched; of racemose units; panicles (of interrupted spikes). The flowers not distichous. Bracts inconspicuous. Bracteoles present; small, not enclosing the flower buds; absent at anthesis; not valvate; connate (into a two-lobed cup around the base of the subsessile flower bud).

The flowers sessile, small; hermaphrodite; not pentamerous throughout; departing from pentamery in the corolla; coloured. Hypanthium present; short. The perianth exclusively sepaline (but sub-petaloid). Calyx 5; covering the rest of the flower in bud; polysepalous; more or less regular (the sepals orbicular); members imbricate. Corolla absent. The androecium comprising 10 members; not declinate; members all free of one another; members all more or less equal in length; comprising only fertile stamens. Fertile stamens 10. Anthers attached well above the base of the connective (the anthers uniform, with a thick, apiculate connective); dehiscing laterally. Ovary shortly stipitate, or sessile or subsessile; free. Stigma minutely terminating the shortish, subulate style, pointed, not dilated. Ovules few, or solitary (1–2).

Fruit, seed and seedling. Fruit a two-valved pod (ultimately gaping); flat, obliquely obovate-orbicular, with one large, flat, pendulous seed; becoming woody. The mature valves with conspicuous, prominent, raised venation; conspicuous venation branching and predominantly longitudinal. Seeds non-endospermic; with a straight or slightly oblique radicle.

Transverse section of lamina. Leaves without 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 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 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 markedly sinuous in high-focus optical section; 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; thick.

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

Species number and distribution. 1 species (P. copaifera). Panama, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Colombia.

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

Miscellaneous. Illustrations: • P. copaifera: Schery, Ann. Miss. Bot. Gard. 38 (1951).


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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