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Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Fabales > Family: Fabaceae

About 160 genera and 1930 species (worldwide), with 27 genera and 84 species native to southern Africa, a further three genera and 22 species naturalised, and a further 16 genera and 69 species cultivated in the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Germishuizen (2000).

Adenolobus

Two species, distribution extending from the Northern Cape to southern Angola.

 

Afzelia

About 14 species, found in tropical regions, with one species, Afzelia quanzensis (Pod mahogany) native to southern Africa.

Baikiaea

All five species are native to Africa, with one, Baikiaea plurijuga (Zambezi teak, Zambian teak, Rhodesian teak, Zambesi redwood), native to southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe).

Bauhinia

More than 200 species, widely distributed, with six species native to southern Africa, two species naturalised and an additional 12 species and one hybrid that are cultivated in the region.

Brachystegia

About 30 species, native to tropical Africa, with seven species native to southern Africa.

Burkea

One species: Burkea africana, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, extending into southern Africa

Caesalpinia

About 200 species, found in warm regions worldwide, with seven species native to southern Africa, four species naturalised, and a further six species cultivated in the region. 

Cassia

About 30 species, found in tropical regions, with three species native to southern Africa. In addition, 13 species are cultivated in the region as garden and street-side trees. 

Chamaecrista

About 250 species, mainly native to the neotropical region, but with 19 species native to southern Africa.

Colophospermum

One species: Mopane Tree Colophospermum mopane (= Copaifera mopane), native to south-tropical Africa and in southern Africa found from Namibia across to the Mpumalanga lowveld.

Cryptosepalum

Eleven species distributed in tropical Africa, of which one Cryptosepalum maraviense is native to southern Africa.

Dialium

About 35 species, mainly native to tropical Africa, but also Madagascar and across to the Malay Peninsula. Two species are native to southern Africa and one species is cultivated in the region.

Erythrophleum

About 10 species, native to tropical and subtropical Africa extending to Asia and northern Australia. Three species are native to southern Africa.

Guibourtia

Sixteen species, native to tropical Africa and America, with three species native to southern Africa.

Haematoxylum

Three species, native to Africa, tropical America and India, with one species, Haematoxylum dinteri, native to southern Africa (Namibia).

Hymenaea

One species native to southern Africa: Hymenea verrucosa (recorded from Mozambique).

Julbernardia

About eight species, all native to tropical Africa, with one species, Julbernardia globiflora, native to southern Africa (Caprivi Strip in Namibia, and Botswana).

Mezoneuron

One species native to southern Africa: Mezoneuron angolense (recorded from Mozambique).

 

Parkinsonia

About 14 species, found mainly in the warm regions of America but with one species, Parkinsonia africana, native to southern Africa (Namibia and Northern Cape). In addition, Parkinsonia aculeata (Jerusalem thorn, Ratama), native to southern USA and Mexico, is cultivated in the region.

Peltophorum

About 15 species, native to tropical regions, with two species, Peltophorum africanum (Weeping wattle) and Peltophorum dubium (recorded from Zimbabwe), native to southern Africa. In addition, Peltophorum pterocarpum (Yellow flamboyant), native from Malaysia to Australia, is cultivated in the region.

Piliostigma

The three species are found from Africa to Asia and Australia, with one, Piliostigma thonningii (Camel's foot, Monkeybread), native to southern Africa. 

Pomaria

Fifteen species (southwestern USA, Mexico, temperate eastern South America and southern Africa), with three species native to southern Africa. Previously placed in the genus Hoffmannseggia.

 

Pterolobium

About 10 species, native to tropical regions, with one species, Pterolobium stellatum, found in southern Africa.

Schotia (boer-beans)

Four species, endemic to southern Africa. Seeds are edible. Seeds of Schotia afra can evidently be eaten raw when green. Mature seeds need to be first cooked or roasted.

Senna

About 240 species, concentrated in the tropics, with four species native to southern Africa 12 that have become naturalised, and a further 10 species and one hybrid that are cultivated in the region. Senna bicapsularis (Rambling cassia), Senna didymobotrya (Peanut butter cassia, Grondboontjiebotterkassia) and Senna pendula var. glabrata are Category 3 invasive plants in South Africa.

Tylosema

Four species, all African, with two native to southern Africa.

Umtiza

One species: Umtiza listeriana, endemic to forests in the Eastern Cape. 

Genera naturalised in southern Africa

List from Germishuizen (2000).

Acrocarpus fraxinifolius (Shingle tree)

Indigenous from India to Indonesia. A rare escape in Harare and Mutare.

Ceratonia

Two species, native to the Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula and Somalia. The Carob tree Ceratonia siliqua originates from the Mediterranean and has been introduced to southern Africa where it sometimes occurs as an escape.

Gleditsia

Twelve species (North and South America, around Caspian Sea, India, Japan to Philippines) with one species, Gleditsia triacanthos (Honey or Sweet Locust), naturalised in southern Africa and a further three species cultivated in the region.

Tamarindus

One species: Tamarindus indica (Tamarind), distributed in Asia and Africa with isolated specimens in the North-West Province and northern KwaZulu-Natal. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002). The species name is provided in genera that have only one species represented in southern Africa.

Amherstia nobilis (Orchid tree, Pride of Burma)

Native to Burma.

 

Brownea

About 30 species, native to the American tropics. Three species are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Cercidium floridum (Palo verde)

Native to southwest USA and Mexico.

 

Cercis (redbuds)

About 12 species, native to warm-temperate regions. Four species are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Colvillea racemosa (False flamboyant)

Native to Madagascar.

 

Delonix

About 10 species, native to tropical Africa, Madagascar (highest diversity) and India. Two species are cultivated in southern Africa, including the well-known Flamboyant tree Delonix regia.

Gigasiphon macrosiphon

Native to tropical east Africa.

 

Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffee tree)

Native to eastern USA.

 

Hymenaea (copals)

Two species cultivated.

 

Intsia bijuga (Merkau, Ipil)

Native from India to Micronesia.

 

Lysiphyllum binatum

Native from Thailand to Australia.

 

Petalostylis labicheoides

Native to Australia.

 

Pterogyne nitens

Native to Brazil.

 

Saraca asoca (Asoc, Asoka)

Native from India and Sri Lanka through to Burma.

 

Schizolobium parahyba (Feather-duster tree, Sky-duster tree)

Native to Brazil.

 

Publications

  • Germishuizen, G. 2000. Fabaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 262-303. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

 


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