1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Cordyla Lour.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & S. Africa, Madagascar.


    Leguminosae, J. B. Gillett, R. M. Polhill & B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1971

    Unarmed deciduous trees, rarely shrubby
    Leaves alternate, imparipinnate; stipules small, soon falling off; leaflets petiolulate, alternate or rarely subopposite, with numerous pellucid dots or streaks
    Flowers hermaphroditeor ♂, in racemes which are axillary or clustered at nodes or sometimes terminal
    Calyx with a subglobose limb entire before dehiscence, splitting into 3–5 lobes on opening
    Receptacle (“calyx-tube”) campanulate; a definite disc (i.e. with a margin) not present, the staminal tube merging evenly with the receptacle
    Stamens numerous (± 23–126), usually crowded into several series round the top of the receptacle; filaments very shortly connate at base; anthers dorsifixed, dehiscing by longitudinal slits; connective glandular at top
    Ovary (in hermaphroditeflowers) long-stipitate, several-ovuled, tapering into a subulate style; stigma small
    Fruits stipitate, ellipsoid to subglobose, beaked or rounded, inde-hiscent, with 1–6 seeds embedded in pulp
    Seeds large, thin-walled, not arillate, without endosperm; radicle of embryo straight.

    Flora Zambesiaca Leguminosae subfamily Papillionoideae by R.K. Brummitt

    Unarmed deciduous trees.
    Leaves imparipinnate; leaflets alternate to rarely subopposite, with minute pellucid dots or dashes between the smaller veins; stipules small, caducous.
    Inflorescences of rather short and usually clustered racemes.
    Flowers hermaphrodite or male, the most conspicuous part being the many stamens.
    Hypanthium (receptacle) well developed, campanulate; calyx subglobose and entire before dehiscence, splitting into (3)5 ± reflexed lobes.
    Petals 0.
    Stamens many (23–126), usually crowded into several series round the rim of the hypanthium; filaments connate for up to 3 mm at base; anthers very small (up to 0.5 mm long), dorsifixed, dehiscing by longitudinal slits; connective glandular at the top.
    Ovary (in hermaphrodite flowers) on a long gynophore exceeding the hypanthium, with several ovules, tapering to a short style with inconspicuous stigma.
    Fruits ellipsoid to subglobose with a ± oblique beak, fleshy, indehiscent, with 1–6 seeds embedded in pulp.
    Seeds large, with a thin testa; embryo with a straight radicle.
    A genus of 7 species, of which one is from West Africa, two from Madagascar and three from E and NE tropical Africa in addition to the species described below.

    Legumes of the World. Edited by G. Lewis, B. Schrire, B. MacKinder & M. Lock. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. (2005)

    Trees and shrubs
    Seasonally dry tropical forest (often riverine), woodland, bushland and scrub, often on rocky hillsides
    c. 5 spp. in Africa in the Zambezian, Sudanian and Somalia-Masai phytochoria of White (1983); 2 spp. in Madagascar
    The genus is being worked on by Kirkbride who suggests that two generic elements may be involved

    The Swartzieae sens. lat., comprising 17 genera and c. 258 species (Fig. 28), is largely Neotropical and distributed from Mexico to Argentina, and the Caribbean, with Bobgunnia, Cordyla, Mildbraediodendron and Baphiopsis restricted to tropical Africa and Madagascar. Cowan (1981a) included 11 genera in the Swartzieae, then later (Polhill, 1994) transferred four genera from the Sophoreae (Amburana, Ateleia, Cyathostegia and Holocalyx). Bobgunnia (Kirkbride & Wiersema, 1997) and Trischidium (Ireland, submitted) were added subsequently.

    The flowers of Swartzieae genera are unusual and varied, and do not totally conform to the typical ‘papilionoid’ structure, resulting in much debate over the systematic placement of the tribe. Disparities with the rest of the family, of some but not all Swartzieae taxa, include a closed calyx in bud, non-papilionaceous corollas (often with a single petal, or these lacking altogether due to complete loss of some petal primordia) and polystemony (often numerous stamens resulting from an innovative developmental feature, the ring meristem) (Tucker, 2003). Although now generally accepted to be papilionoid, the tribe has frequently been shifted between the Papilionoideae and the Caesalpinioideae, and is even recognised by some as a fourth subfamily (De Candolle, 1825; Bartling, 1830; Endlicher, 1840; Corner, 1951).

    Research based on pollen (Ferguson & Schrire, 1994), macromorphology (Herendeen, 1995), wood anatomy (Gasson, 1996) and DNA sequences (Doyle et al., 1996; Ireland et al., 2000; Pennington et al., 2001) has shown the Swartzieae to be polyphyletic, with many members of the tribe more closely related to genera in the Sophoreae, Dipterygeae and Dalbergieae than they are to each other (Fig. 28). In a phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data (Ireland et al., 2000; Pennington et al., 2001), Swartzia emerges in a monophyletic group with Bobgunnia, Bocoa, Trischidium, Cyathostegia and Ateleia. This group of genera, with the addition of Candolleodendron, are likely to constitute a redefined Swartzieae sens. strict., with the remaining swartzioid genera being moved to other tribes (Fig. 28). Wojciechowski et al. (2004) find moderate support for including Swartzieae sens. strict. in a monophyletic clade together with basally branching genera lacking the 50kb inversion in Sophoreae, and Dipterygeae.

     The reclassification of Swartzieae sens. strict., and realignment of the remaining swartzioid genera in other tribes, needs to be corroborated by further evidence. For the present, Swartzieae sens. lat. is retained in a basally branching position within the Papilionoideae following Polhill (1981a).

    [Author’s postscript: Mansano et al. (2004a) recently undertook a molecular-morphological analysis of the Lecointea clade of Herendeen (1995) and found strong support for the inclusion of Harleyodendron and Exostyles within this clade, rather than in the Vataireoid clade as reported here]

    Used as ornamentals and shade trees, timber, medicine and human food



    Native to:

    Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    Cordyla Lour. appears in other Kew resources:

    First published in Fl. Cochinch.: 411 (1790)

    Accepted by

    • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.


    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • Milne—Redhead in Fedde Rep. 41: 227 (1937).
    • —F.T.A. 2: 257
    Flora Zambesiaca
    • —Milne-Redhead in Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 41: 227–235 (1937).
    • Fl. Cochinch. 2: 412 (1790).
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Milne-Redh. in F.R. 41: 227–235 (1937)
    • Fl. Cochinch.: 411 (1790)


    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Legumes of the World Online