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The genera of Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae & Swartzieae

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Tetraberlinia (Harms) Hauman

Westia Vahl

Habit and leaf form. Small to large trees (trunks straight and cylindrical, usually without buttresses); unarmed.

Phyllotaxy distichous. The leaves compound; pinnate, or bifoliolate (1–34 jugate); paripinnate. The leaflets many per leaf, or few per leaf (2–26); opposite or sub-opposite; petiolulate, or sessile to sub-sessile; without noticeably twisted petiolules; markedly asymmetrical to symmetrical or nearly so (e.g., T. bifoliolata); more or less palmately nerved, or with a predominant ‘midrib’ (then pinnately to reticulately veined); without a continuous marginal nerve. Stipules present, persistent and conspicuous in mature leaves, or absent or early caducous or very inconspicuous in mature leaves (persistent or caducous); membranous; connate (basally), or not connate (usually). Stipels absent.

Inflorescence and floral morphology. The inflorescences terminal; unbranched, or branched; of racemose units; simple racemes, or panicles. The flowers distichous, or not distichous. Bracts persistent beyond anthesis. Bracteoles present; relatively large and enclosing the flower buds; persistent beyond anthesis; valvate.

The flowers hermaphrodite; pentamerous; coloured. Hypanthium present; conspicuous, cupular. The perianth comprising distinct calyx and corolla. Calyx 3–5; covering the rest of the flower in bud; polysepalous (the adaxial members joined, resulting in ostensibly 4 sepals); markedly irregular; members imbricate. Corolla present; very irregular (the adaxial petal large, the laterals and abaxials reduced and usually inrolled or folded together lengthwise); 5; including greatly reduced members, or without greatly reduced members; polypetalous. Petals shortly clawed (the large one), or sessile; imbricate; imbricate-ascending; white, or yellow. The androecium comprising 10 members (usually); not declinate; with united members (with nine basally united and the adaxial one free); members markedly unequal; comprising only fertile stamens. Fertile stamens 10. Anthers attached well above the base of the connective; dehiscing longitudinally. Ovary stipitate (and the style centric); free. Stigma small, but dilated. Ovules few (1–5(-6)).

Fruit, seed and seedling. Fruit a two-valved pod; straight to curved; valves twisting and enrolling during dehiscence; usually winged longitudinally, or not noticeably winged (in T. longiracemosa); becoming woody. The mature valves long- to shortly beaked, with conspicuous, prominent, raised venation (usually), or without prominent venation; conspicuous venation predominantly longitudinal (one or two of these). Seeds not arillate. Cotyledons epigeal (the first pair of leaves opposite).

Transverse section of lamina. Leaves with conspicuous phloem transfer cells in the minor veins. Druses common in the mesophyll, or absent from the mesophyll. Mesophyll secretory cavities (gland-dots) common, or absent; without a lining of epithelium. 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; not conspicuously pitted; medium-thin to thin. 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; conspicuously pitted in optical section, or not conspicuously pitted in optical section; staining normally with safranin; thin.

Pollen ultrastructure. Tectum striate; interwoven striate. Length of colpi greater than one half pole to pole distance.

Species number and distribution. 7 species. Equatorial West Africa.

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

Miscellaneous. Illustrations: • T. bifoliolata: Wieringa (1999). • T. longiracemosa: Wieringa (1999). • T. moreliana: Wieringa (1999). • T. polyphylla: Wieringa (1999). • T. tubmaniana: Wieringa (1999). • T. tubmaniana: leaflet, adaxial epidermis. • T. tubmaniana: leaflet, abaxial epidermis. • T. tubmaniana: leaflet, abaxial epidermis.


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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