Fabaceae Lindl.

Machaerium Pers.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Mexico to Tropical America, W. Tropical Africa to Angola.


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

caviuna, pau ferro, santos rosewood, morado
Shrubs, trees and climbing lianas
Tropical inundated and non-inundated rain forest, seasonally dry forest, dune forest, low woodland, thicket, thorn scrub, shrubland and remnant shade trees in cocoa plantations
Neotropics, centred in Amazonian S America, with c. 15 spp. from Mexico (c. 2 endemic) and C America (2 spp., M. isadelphum (E.Mey.) Amshoff and M. lunatum (L.f.) Ducke reach the Caribbean); M. lunatum is also amphi-atlantic, extending to the west coast of Africa
Rudd (1987b) divides Machaerium into four sections; Polhill (1981d: 233-242) placed Machaerium in Dalbergieae, most closely related to Dalbergia, a relationship corroborated by Doyle et al. (1997) and the combined analyses of Lavin et al. (2001a); Machaerium is additionally resolved closest to Aeschynomene sect. Ochopodium (Fig. 40)

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.

Native to:

Angola, Argentina Northeast, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, 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, Leeward Is., Liberia, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, Windward Is., Zaïre

Machaerium Pers. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
May 1, 2010 Ducke, A. [s.n.], Brazil K000920036 Yes
Jan 1, 2009 Árbocz, G.F. [4057], Brazil K000920052 Yes
Nov 13, 2002 Klitgaard, B.B. [10], Brazil 70262.000 No
Nov 12, 2002 Klitgaard, B.B. [54], Brazil 70261.000 No
Jan 1, 1998 Ganev, W. [1535], Brazil K000920056 Yes
Jan 1, 1990 Cid Ferreira, C.A. [8833], Brazil K000920053 Yes
Jan 1, 1990 Cid Ferreira, C.A. [8835], Brazil K000920055 Yes
Jan 1, 1990 Cid Ferreira, C.A. [8704], Brazil K000920054 Yes
Aug 9, 1989 Leoni, L.S. [418], Brazil K000920049 Yes
Jan 1, 1989 Cid Ferreira, C.A. [5824], Brazil K000920047 Yes
Jan 1, 1989 Nee, M.H. [34555], Brazil K000920048 Yes
Feb 1, 1988 Lewis, G.P. [1439], Brazil K000920050 Yes
Jan 1, 1988 Thomas, W. [4956], Brazil K000920037 Yes
Jan 1, 1978 Prance, G.T. [20982], Brazil K000920041 Yes
Oct 1, 1974 Forero, E. [4720], Brazil K000920039 Yes
Jan 1, 1970 Silva, M. [2210], Brazil K000920038 Yes
Stannard, B. [H51590], Brazil 64654.000 No
Rico, L. [1416], Bolivia K000295445 Yes
Fróes, R.L. [20606], Brazil K000920040 Yes
Saldanha, J. [30], Brazil K000920046 Yes
Dick, C. [71], Brazil K000920051 Yes
Irwin, H.S. [s.n.], Amapá K000835121 Yes
Prance, G.T. [5168], Brazil K000920042 Yes
Assunção, P.A.C.L. [765], Brazil K000920043 Yes
Leme, C.D. [16], Brazil K000920044 Yes
Barbosa, E. [771], Brazil K000920045 Yes
Alencar, M.E. [253], Brazil K000920058 Yes
Ganev, W. [1534], Brazil K000920057 Yes

First published in Syn. Pl. 2: 276 (1807)

Accepted by

  • Nelson Sutherland, C.H. (2008). Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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