New combinations in Guilandina (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae)


The Caesalpinia Group (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae) and the genus Caesalpinia sensu lato were recently reclassified resulting in a reduction in the number of species in Caesalpinia sensu stricto to nine. Of the genera now accepted as distinct from Caesalpinia, the pantropical genus Guilandina lacks any recent global taxonomic account and estimates of the number of species in the genus range from seven to as many as 20. Seven putative species are currently known only under Caesalpinia binomials and have no published combination in Guilandina. This inconvenience is rectified here. Putting these binomials into the correct genus will ensure that they are not overlooked in any future revision of Guilandina, a genus of taxonomic complexity and including some nomenclatural conundrums.


Up to the turn of the last millennium, the genus Caesalpinia, as traditionally circumscribed, comprised between 120 and 130 species and included 25 generic names in synonymy (Lewis 1998). A series of publications (Lewis & Schrire 1995; Ulibarri 1996, 2008; Simpson & Miao 1997; Lewis 1998, 2005; Simpson 1998, 1999; Bruneau et al. 2001, 2008; Herendeen et al. 2003; Simpson & Lewis 2003; Simpson et al. 2003; Simpson & Ulibarri 2006; Manzanilla & Bruneau 2012; Gagnon et al. 2013, 2015; Clark & Gagnon 2015; Clark 2016) culminating in A New Generic System for the Pantropical Caesalpinia Group (Gagnon et al. 2016) have successively revealed that several names synonymised under Caesalpinia sensu lato needed to be reinstated as distinct genera, and that other unique species, or small clusters of taxa, required new generic status.

The genus Guilandina L. was first described by Linnaeus (1753) but subsequently most studies have considered it to be synonymous with or a subgenus of Caesalpinia, although some authors have continued to consider it to be a distinct genus (e.g., Britton & Rose 1930; Lewis 2005), while others have implied that it should be reinstated at separate genus rank (e.g., Verdcourt 1979). Chemical analyses (Kite & Lewis 1994), a unique suite of morphological characters (including pari-bipinnate leaves armed with recurved prickles, unisexual flowers on separate male and female racemes, sepals valvate in bud, inflated pods usually clothed in robust trichomes, and ovoid to globular, smooth seeds with parallel fracture lines concentric with a small apical hilum; Gagnon et al. 2016) together with molecular studies (Gagnon et al. 2013, 2016), all support recognition of Guilandina as distinct from Caesalpinia sensu stricto. By morphological comparison with Guilandina, Caesalpinia s.s. species are shrubs or small trees (vs lianas or scrambling shrubs), have bisexual (vs unisexual) flowers, sepals imbricate (vs valvate) in bud, petals barely extending beyond the sepals (vs evidently longer), laterally compressed, unarmed pods (vs inflated pods usually armed with robust spinescent bristles) and compressed (vs globose) seeds.

Guilandina has a pantropical distribution, occurring as far north as Japan and as far south as South Africa. The hard, marble-shaped seeds can drift on ocean currents and arrive on island beaches and continental shores. Ten species (or more precisely binomials) occur in the Caribbean, nine are endemic to various island groups in the region (Acevedo-Rodríguez & Strong 2012). Pending a global revision of the genus, the exact total number of species remains uncertain. Here, added to the list of 19 names included under Guilandina by Gagnon et al. (2016) is Caesalpinia robusta (C.T.White) Pedley (Pedley 1977), endemic to Queensland, Australia. This is one of seven Caesalpinia names which belong in Guilandina but have yet to receive a published combination in that genus. To ensure that these names are not overlooked in any future revision of Guilandina, new combinations for these seven names are presented below, and it is likely that most, if not all, of these will retain their species status after scrutiny.

New combinations

Herbarium acronyms follow Index Herbariorum (Thiers n.d. continuously updated).

Guilandina delphinensis (Du Puy & R.Rabev.) G.P.Lewis, comb. nov.

Caesalpinia delphinensis Du Puy & R.Rabev., in Du Puy et al., The Leguminosae of Madagascar: 47 (2002). Type: SE Madagascar, Fort Dauphin [Taolañaro], Alluaud 3 (holotype: P).

Guilandina homblei (R.Wilczek) G.P.Lewis, comb. nov.

Caesalpinia homblei R. Wilczek, Bull. Jard. Bot. État. Bruxelles 21: 85 (1951). Type: Democratic Republic of the Congo [Belgian Congo]: Upper Katanga Distr. [Haut-Katanga], Homblé 88 (holotype: BR).

Guilandina minax (Hance) G.P.Lewis, comb. nov.

Caesalpinia minax Hance, J. Bot. 22: 365 (1884). Type: China, “juxta oppidum Shiu-hing, secus fl. North River, prov. Cantonensis, detexit rev. R. H. Graves (Herb. propr. n. 22284)”, type not traced, n.v.

Caesalpinia morsei Dunn, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 35: 492 (1903). Type: China, Kwangsi, Lungchow, H. B. Morse 303 (lectotype: K!, barcode: K00544235, here designated, flowering specimen; isolectotype: a second sheet of Morse 303 at K!,barcode: K000789324, in flower and immature fruit, but lacking locality data); Other original material: China, Yunnan, Szemao, north-west mountains, A. Henry 10739 (K!, barcode: K000789325); Vietnam, Tonkin, B. Balansa 2145 (K!, barcode: K000789321).

Guilandina murifructa (Gillis & Proctor) G.P.Lewis, comb. nov.

Caesalpinia murifructa Gillis & Proctor, J. Arnold Arbor. 55: 427 (1974). Type: Bahamas: Great Inagua Island, Matthew Town, Proctor & Gillis 33371 (holotype: A, photo K!; isotypes: IJ, BM).

Guilandina robusta (C.T.White) G.P.Lewis, comb. nov.

Caesalpinia robusta (C.T.White) Pedley, Austrobaileya 1: 34 (1977).

Mezoneuron robustum C.T.White, Contr. Arnold Arbor. 4: 43 (1933). Type: Australia, Queensland, Atherton Tableland, Boonjie, S. F. Kajewski 1206 (holotype: BRI; isotype: K!, barcode: K000264159).

Guilandina solomonensis (Hattink) G.P.Lewis, comb. nov.

Caesalpinia solomonensis Hattink, Reinwardtia 9 (1): 54 (1974). Type: E. Malesia, Solomon Ils., SE New Georgia, Viru R., L. Maenuʼu BSIP 6068 (holotype: L; isotypes: HON, K!, barcode: K000789388, LAE, SING, US).

Guilandina volkensii (Harms) G.P.Lewis, comb. nov.

Caesalpinia volkensii Harms, Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 45 (2): 304 (1910). Type: Tanzania, Lushoto Distr., Kwa Mshusa, Handei, C. Holst 9123 (lectotype: K!, barcode: K000544234, here designated; isolectotype: B †); Other original material: Moshi Distr., Marangu, G. Volkens 1454 (B†); Moshi, Merker 509 (B†, BM, drawing); Amani, Monga, Braun 1549 (B†, EA).


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Thanks to Heather Lindon for checking the nomenclature, Ruth Linklater and Bente Klitgård for commenting on the first draft of this article and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful remarks.

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Lewis, G.P. New combinations in Guilandina (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae). Kew Bull 75, 10 (2020).

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Key Words

  • Fabaceae
  • nomenclature