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  1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Lonchocarpus Kunth

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


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

    black cabbage bark, machiche, sindjaple
    Mostly trees, less often shrubs
    Tropical rain forest and seasonally dry forest, woodland or rocky shrubland
    S America (c. 22 spp. Amazonian and c. 20 spp. non-Amazonian); C America, Caribbean and Mexico (c. 80 spp.) with one amphi-Atlantic sp. widespread also in Africa
    The concept of Lonchocarpus as treated here excludes Deguelia Aubl., Muellera L.f. and Philenoptera Fenzl ex A. Rich.; generic delimitation from related genera in the Lonchocarpus group (see pages 381-382) is poorly understood

    Relationships among genera of Millettieae have been notoriously difficult to unravel based on traditional morphological evidence and this is exemplified by the alphabetical arrangement of genera in the tribal treatments of Geesink (1981; 1984) and Polhill (1994). Geesink (1981) recognised 44 genera and c. 870 species in tribe Millettieae (as ‘Tephrosieae’) while 43 genera were accounted for in Geesink (1984) and Polhill (1994). The genera recognised, however, varied considerably with only 33 genera in common to both treatments of Geesink, while the list of Polhill (1994) combined elements of Geesink (1981, 1984) with new data accumulated since then. Tephrosia has traditionally comprised some 400 species but this is re-estimated at c. 350 species here.

    The traditional circumscription of the predominantly pantropical and subtropical tribe Millettieae is followed here (Fig. 45), with 45 genera and (904)–909–(914) species being recognised, (i.e. excluding the two genera and 11 species transferred to Brongniartieae, see Table 8), although the concept of what comprises Millettieae sens. strict. is changing rapidly based on evidence from molecular phylogenies. Sequence data for millettioid genera comes from the plastid rbcL gene (Doyle et al., 1997; 2000; Kajita et al., 2001; Hu & Chang, 2003), phytochrome nucleotide genes (Lavin et al., 1998), the plastid trnK-matK region (Hu et al., 2000) and the nuclear ITS region (Hu, 2000; Hu et al., 2002). Molecular data, together with reinterpreted evidence based on chemistry (Evans et al., 1985) and wood anatomy (Gasson et al., 2004), have been the basis for recognising a number of informal suprageneric groupings and for transferring Cyclolobium and Poecilanthe to tribe Brongniartieae (Table 8; Fig. 45).

     The most far-reaching result of the above molecular analyses was that a substantial part of the traditionally circumscribed tribe Phaseoleae is more closely allied to the core-Millettieae than to the Phaseoleae sens. lat. clade (see page 393). Circumscription of a revised tribe Millettieae is not possible at present until genera are more comprehensively sampled; however, a Millettioid sens. strict. group might be expected to include some genera in the basal millettioid and phaseoloid group, Phaseoleae subtribes Diocleinae, Ophrestiinae and in small part the Erythrininae, tribe Abreae and the core-Millettieae (Fig. 45). The basal millettioid and phaseoloid group comprises 17 genera (94 species) that may belong either in the Millettioids sens. strict. or Phaseoleae sens. lat., or to a clade sister to both these groups (e.g., Kajita et al., 2001). The core-Millettieae clade comprises c. 22 genera and c. 777 spp., with some additional generic segregates being necessary within the ‘canavanine group’ (Evans et al., 1985), to accommodate species of Millettia sens. lat. and Fordia sens. lat., which on the basis of molecular and chemical evidence are excluded from Millettia and Fordia sens. strict.

    Relationships between the major groups of genera centred on Lonchocarpus, Derris, Millettia and Tephrosia remain obscure, and still reflect a geographical bias in segregating them, i.e. distributions are limited largely to the New World in the Lonchocarpus group, and the Old World in the other groups. The suggestion that the Andean South American genus Apurimacia might be sister to the largely Old World Tephrosia rather than to Lonchocarpus (e.g., Kajita et al., 2001) is possibly indicative of other Old World–New World sister groups yet to be found. Further molecular evidence will probably result in an overall reduction in the number of genera recognised, particularly in the Tephrosia and Lonchocarpus groups where various small or monotypic ‘one-organ’ genera may be better placed within larger genera. Ptycholobium, Requienia and Paratephrosia, for example, are difficult to distinguish from Tephrosia, but for the emphasis traditionally placed on their atypical pods.


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

    Trees, shrubs or rarely woody climbers
    Leaves imparipinnate, sometimes only pinnately 3-foliolate or rarely (and not in East Africa) 1-foliolate; stipules usually present, caducous or subpersistent; stipels usually present in section Paniculati, elsewhere generally absent; leaflets opposite, the upper ones generally the larger
    Flowers in well-developed terminal and often also axillary panicles in section Paniculati, elsewhere generally crowded on abbreviated lateral branches or clustered at the nodes of a simple or sparsely branched primary rhachis; flower-bracts and bracteoles small, usually caducous
    Calyx campanulate or cupulate, shortly 5-toothed with the upper 2 united almost to the tips or (outside East Africa) often sub-truncate
    Corolla much longer than calyx, white, pink or purplish, sometimes with yellow markings on the standard, glabrous or with scattered hairs in section Paniculati, elsewhere more commonly conspicuously silky-hairy at least on the standard outside; standard ovate, obovate or suborbicular, sometimes auriculate and/or with calluses at base of the blade; wings adhering to the keel and of subequal length in African species
    Stamens united into a tube closed above, but split at base either side of the vexillary stamen (latter may be free in young bud); anthers dorsifixed
    Ovary usually shortly stipitate, few-ovulate; style curved, tapered to a very small terminal stigma, glabrous or with scattered hairs like those of the ovary on the lower part
    Fruits flattened, indehiscent, broadly ovate to linear-oblong, with the upper edge thin, thickened or slightly winged, usually stipitate, papery to coriaceous, 1–few-seeded
    Seeds (at least in Africa) oblong-reniform, usually smooth; hilum and rim-aril small.
    Various species used as timber (e.g., black cabbage bark, machiche, sindjaple ), for furniture, construction and flooring; also used as insecticides (rotenones), fish poisons, dyes, ornamentals, fodder, fibre and medicine



    Native to:

    Angola, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Bahamas, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Burkina, Cameroon, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Leeward Is., Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Southwest Caribbean, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad-Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Windward Is., Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    India, New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Uganda

    Accepted Species


    Other Data

    Lonchocarpus Kunth appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Jan 20, 2008 Laurênio, A. [181], Brazil K000921703
    Nov 13, 2002 Klitgaard, B.B. [19], Brazil 70269.000
    Nov 13, 2002 Klitgaard, B.B. [5], Brazil 70272.000
    Jan 1, 1980 Prance, G.T. [23580], Brazil K000921711
    Ratter, J.A. [7759], Brazil K000921701
    Silva, J.M. [1923], Brazil K000921702
    Hughes, C.E. [1843], Mexico K000564211
    Hughes, C.E. [1530], Guatemala K000635776
    MACQUEEN, D.J. [585], Costa Rica K000635778
    Krukoff, B.A. [1688], Brazil K000921705
    Krukoff, B.A. [7677], Brazil K000921708
    Krukoff, B.A. [7677], Brazil K000921709
    Krukoff, B.A. [7694], Brazil K000921710
    Killip, E.P. [30576], Brazil K000921713
    Killip, E.P. [30241], Brazil K000921714
    Costa, R.C.M. [1021], Brazil K000921712
    Costa, R.C.M. [1006], Brazil K000921715
    Hatschbach, G.G. [77392], Brazil K000921704
    Burchell [7304], Brazil K000921706
    Burchell [7972], Brazil K000921707
    Martínez Salas, E.M. [26417], Mexico K000564212
    Martínez Salas, E.M. [s.n.], Mexico K000564214
    Diego, N. [5260], Mexico K000564213
    Diego, N. [5405], Mexico K000564215
    Verduzco Martínez [311], Mexico K000564265
    Chavelas Pólito, J. [6249], Mexico K000635774


    First published in F.W.H.von Humboldt, A.J.A.Bonpland & C.S.Kunth, Nov. Gen. Sp. 6: 383 (1824)

    Accepted by

    • Sousa, M., Sotuyo, S. & Pedraza-Ortega, E. (2014). Sistemática de Lonchocarpus sección Punctati (Fabaceae: Millettieae), basada en datos morfológicos y moleculares, con la descripción de nueve especies nuevas Acta Botanica Mexicana 109: 79-131. Instituto de Ecología A.C.
    • Sousa S., M. (2010). Le sect. Obtusifolii del género Lonchocarpus (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae, Millettieae) para Mesoamérica Novon 19: 520-533.
    • Sousa S., M. (2009). La Sect. Punctati de Género Lonchocarpus (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae, Millettieae) para Mesoamérica Novon 19: 239-255.


    Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • —F.T.A. 2: 241.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Nov. Gen. Sp. 6: 383 (1824), nom. conserv.


    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Legumes of the World Online