1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Zornia J.F.Gmel.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropics & Subtropics.


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

    Usually erect or prostrate herbs, sometimes shrubs
    Dry tropical to warm temperate woodland, bushland, wooded grassland, grassland and shrubland, often in rocky areas and weedy in cultivated lands
    Pantropical; centred in S America with c. 35 spp., but also c. 14 spp. in USA, Mexico and C America; c. 30 spp. in the Old World (c. 13 spp. in Africa, 1 sp. endemic in Madagascar, c. 8 spp. in Asia and c. 8 spp. endemic in Australia)
    Rudd (1981) placed Zornia in tribe Aeschynomeneae, subtribe Poiretiinae. Lavin et al. (2001a), based on DNA sequence data, resolved Zornia in the Adesmia clade, most closely related to Poiretia and Amicia (Fig. 40); this relationship is also discussed by Ohashi (1999)

    The present circumscription of Dalbergieae sens. lat. contains radical changes to Dalbergieae sensu Polhill (1981d: 233–242). In the first instance it takes a traditional view of the tribe by including genera such as Vatairea and Vataireopsis (now in the Vataireoid clade, see Figs. 1& 40) and Andira and Hymenolobium, which in Wojciechowski et al. (2004) are sister to the combined Dalbergioid clade of Lavin et al. (2001a), plus Amorpheae. The bulk of the treatment, however, recognises the cryptic Dalbergioid clade (Lavin et al., 2001a) as comprising tribe Dalbergieae sens. lat., diagnosed by the synapomorphy of aeschynomenoid root nodules. This clade includes all the genera placed in the Dalbergieae sensu Polhill (1981d: 233– 242), the Aeschynomeneae sensu Rudd (1981) and the Adesmieae sensu Polhill (1981g: 355–356), plus subtribe Bryinae of the Desmodieae sensu Ohashi et al. (1981) as well as the genus Diphysa (tribe Robinieae sensu Polhill & Sousa (1981)).The placements of all members of the Dalbergioid clade within the classification presented here and in those of Polhill (1981d: 233–242; 1981g: 355–356), Polhill & Sousa (1981), Ohashi et al. (1981) and Rudd (1981) are listed in Fig. 40.

    Dalbergieae sensu Polhill (1981d) contained 19 genera defined by woody habit, supposedly plesiomorphic flowers, pods with a specialised seed chamber and seeds that accumulated alkaloids. Polhill (1981d) noted that there seemed to be two centres within the Dalbergieae: one around Andira with Hymenolobium, Vatairea, Vataireopsis, Dalbergia, and Machaerium, and one around Pterocarpus. He also highlighted evidence from wood anatomy (Baretta-Kuipers, 1981) which showed that Andira, Hymenolobium, Vatairea, and Vataireopsis have coarser wood structures more typical of members of the Sophoreae than the remaining members of the Dalbergieae. The study of fruit and seedling morphology by Lima (1990) further supported these two centres within the Dalbergieae: one including Andira, Hymenolobium, Vatairea, and Vataireopsis, and the second the remaining genera. Most recently several molecular and morphological studies (e.g., Lavin et al., 2001a; Pennington et al., 2001; Wojciechowski et al., 2004) confirm that these four genera do not belong in the Dalbergioid clade. Since there is, however, still much work to be done to resolve the phylogenetic relationships of these four genera, they have been kept in tribe Dalbergieae sens. lat. in this treatment to avoid tentative placements, which might be treated by users as formal.

    The tribe Aeschynomeneae sensu Rudd (1981) contained 25 genera characterised by lomentaceous pods, although some members lack loments (e.g., Arachis, Ormocarpopsis, Diphysa spp., Ormocarpum spp., and Pictetia spp.). None of the Aeschynomeneae had previously been considered closely related to the Dalbergieae, but the work of Lavin et al. (2001a) has resolved all the ‘aeschynomenoid genera’ within the Dalbergioid clade.

    The taxonomic history of the monogeneric tribe Adesmieae sensu Polhill (1981g) is very different from that of the Dalbergieae. The Adesmieae combines the presumed plesiomorphic trait of free stamen filaments, with presence of lomentaceous pods that are supposedly derived. This combination of features suggested a taxonomically isolated position far removed from the Dalbergieae. The analyses of Lavin et al. (2001a) based on molecular sequence and morphological data, however, support Adesmia (nested together with five genera of Rudd’s Aeschynomeneae) being sister to the Pterocarpus and Dalbergia clades. The neotropical genera Brya and Cranocarpus were placed together in a new subtribe Bryinae of Desmodieae in the classification of Ohashi et al. (1981). The features common to these genera are periporate pollen and glochidiate hairs or glandular trichomes. In the molecular studies of Doyle et al. (1995) and Bailey et al. (1997), Brya and Cranocarpus did not lack the intron for the chloroplast gene rpl2 nor for the open reading frame ORF184, which are characteristic of the other desmodioid genera studied. Bailey et al. (1997), therefore, suggested that Brya and Cranocarpus should be removed from the Desmodieae. Their findings were strongly corroborated by the three gene analyses of Lavin et al. (2001a) which place the two genera in the Pterocarpus clade (Fig. 40).

    One further transfer has been made in the Dalbergioid clade since Rudd (1981) and Polhill & Sousa (1981). Lavin (1987) transferred Diphysa from the Robinieae to tribe Aeschynomeneae based on the absence of canavanine in the seeds, a feature consistently present in the Robinieae (Lavin, 1986). Lavin (1987) also listed 14 morphological characters that placed Diphysa with the Aeschynomeneae rather than the Robinieae. In the phylogenetic analyses of Lavin et al. (2001a), Diphysa is resolved in the Dalbergioid clade nested within the ‘transatlantic clade’ (Fig. 40), first identified by Lavin et al. (2000).

    Finally, since 1981 four new genera have been published: the Brazilian monotypic Grazielodendron (Lima, 1983b), the possibly extinct Madagascan endemic Peltiera (Labat & Du Puy, 1997), Zygocarpum, the Horn of Africa – Arabian segregate of Ormocarpum (Thulin & Lavin, 2001) and Maraniona from northern Peru (Hughes et al., 2004). Three genera have also been placed in synonymy since 1981: the Caribbean genus Belairia which is a synonym of Pictetia (Beyra-Matos & Lavin, 1999), and the genera Pachecoa and Arthrocarpum which Thulin (1999) synonymised under Chapmannia. In this treatment 49 genera and (1319) –1325–(1331) species are recognised in Dalbergieae sens. lat. (including 4 basally branching dalbergioid genera comprising c. 58 species, and (1261)–1267– (1273) species in the 45 genera of the Dalbergioid clade [Lavin et al., 2001a]).The following informal groupings of genera are based on the work of Lavin et al. (2001a): Adesmia clade: 6 genera; c. 360 species; neotropical except Zornia, which is pantropical. Pterocarpus clade: 22 genera; c. 200 species centred in the Neotropics, Pterocarpus and Stylosanthes are pantropical, Inocarpus Asian, and Chapmannia transatlantic.Dalbergia clade: 17 genera; c. 706 species which are pantropical, but centred in Africa; Weberbauerella, Soemmeringia, Pictetia and Diphysa are neotropical, Machaerium transatlantic, Dalbergia and Aeschynomene are pantropical, and Geissaspis Asian. Isolated genera: 4 genera; 58 species, neotropical except Andira, which has one amphiatlantic species.


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

    Annual or perennial herbs
    Leaves digitately 2- or 4-foliolate; leaflets ± glandular-punctate, exstipellate
    Stipules well developed, produced below the point of insertion, often glandular-punctate
    Inflorescence spicate, terminal or axillary; bracts in pairs, stipule-like, often glandular-punctate, ciliate, enclosing the flowers when in bud
    Calyx hyaline, ciliate, the 2 upper lobes connate
    Petals all clawed, forming a normal pea-flower
    Stamens with filaments united below into a closed tube; anthers 10, alternately long and short; the upper part of the tube circumscissile, being cast after flowering complete with the stamens and the petals (at least in the tropical African species)
    Ovary with 5–8 ovules
    Legume flattened, segmented, the segments with or rarely without bristles.
    Used as forage, a cover crop (green manure), for medicine and soap; some species may be toxic



    Native to:

    Alabama, Andaman Is., Angola, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Arizona, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Cape Verde, Caprivi Strip, Central African Repu, Chad, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Himalaya, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Florida, Free State, French Guiana, Galápagos, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hainan, Haiti, Honduras, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jawa, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Leeward Is., Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Louisiana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Mississippi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Carolina, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Pakistan, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Rwanda, Réunion, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Socotra, Somalia, South Carolina, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Texas, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad-Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Vietnam, Virginia, West Himalaya, Western Australia, Windward Is., Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guatemala, Gulf of Guinea Is., New Caledonia, Tonga

    Zornia J.F.Gmel. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Jan 1, 2008 Heiden, G. [965], Brazil K000908288
    Hatschbach, G. [79156], Brazil K000908283
    Burchell [1776], Brazil K000908267
    Burchell [3953], Brazil K000908268
    Burchell [1666], Brazil K000908275
    Burchell [9701], Brazil K000908276
    Burchell [s.n.], Brazil K000908280
    Burchell [4313], Brazil K000908281
    Burchell [4313], Brazil K000908282
    Bauer [s.n.], Australia K000279002
    Tweedie [357], Brazil K000908262
    Tweedie [357], Brazil K000908263
    Tweedie [357], Brazil K000908264
    Tweedie [351], Brazil K000908265
    Tweedie [352], Brazil K000908270
    Souza, V.C. [CFCR 13936], Brazil K000908286
    Fonseca, M.L. [2447], Brazil K000908287
    Mueller, F. von [s.n.], Australia K000278973
    Poiteau [s.n.], Brazil K000908266
    Lucas, E.J. [887], Brazil K000908284
    Lucas, E.J. [887], Brazil K000908285
    Gaudichaud [s.n.], Brazil K000908269
    Sellow [s.n.], Brazil K000908273
    Sellow [s.n.], Brazil K000908274
    Sellow [s.n.], Brazil K000908277
    Sellow [s.n.], Brazil K000908278
    Sellow [s.n.], Brazil K000908279
    Paula-Souza, J. [5585], Brazil K000908289
    s.coll. [s.n.], Brazil K000908271
    s.coll. [s.n.], Brazil K000908272

    First published in Syst. Nat. ed. 13[bis]: 1076 (1792)


    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • —F.T.A. 2: 158.
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Mohlenbr. in Webbia 16: 1–141 (1961)
    • Syst. Nat. 2: 1076, 1096 (1791)


    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

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    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

    Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.