Genus Caesalpinia

Author: Linnaeus

Morphologivcal description
Trees, shrubs, lianas or scramblers, usually armed with spines or prickles (Caes cucullata thorns 139589 ), rarely unarmed. Stipules present or absent, minute to large and leafy, caducous or persistent

Leaves alternate, rarely opposite (Caesalpinia oppositifolia ), bipinnate, usually paribipinnate, rarely imparibipinnate, petioled; pinnae opposite; rachides on the underside often with prickles .Leaflets opposite or alternate, sessile or shortly petiolulate.

Inflorescences axillary and then often serial, and/or terminal (Caes pulcherrima overv 428817 ), racemose or paniculate; bracts mostly caducous; bracteoles absent.

Flowers usually bisexual, sometimes unisexual, zygomorphic, often all parts punctate (secretory cavities), pedicelled. Hypanthium usually obliquely short-cupular or funnel-shaped, persistent or shed. Sepals 5, usually united at the base, unequal, the lower one usually cucullate, longer than the others and clasping them, often reflexed during anthesis. Petals 5, unequal, often spathulate, the limb usually (sub)orbicular or oblong, sometimes contracted towards the basal part into a narrow claw; the upper one (standard) mostly deviating from others in both shape and size, sometimes with a liguliform appendage. Disk obscure or absent. Stamens 10, free, equal or alternately longer or shorter; filaments usually hairy at the lower half or at the base; anthers dorsifixed, glabrous or rarely villose, laterally longitudinally dehiscent. Pistil sessile or shortly stipitate; ovary oblique at the base, flat, 1-10(-1 3)-ovuled; style slender, more or less curved upwards; stigma terminal, oblique, usually funnel-shaped or sometimes slightly bilobed, ciliate or glabrous.

Pods very variable, dehiscent or indehiscent, usually more or less flattened, winged along the upper suture or wingless, unarmed or rarely spiny, sometimes twisted, I-10(-13)-seeded (Caesalp bonduc pod/seed 256039 ).

Seeds orbicular or globose, ellipsoid or reniform, sometimes flattened, often smooth, usually exalbuminous.

Pantropical, c. 100 species; all over Malesia with 18 indigenous species (see also distribution map:Caesapl map Reinw. f. 1 ): Caesalpinia andamanica , Caesalpinia bonduc , Caesalpinia crista , Caesalpinia cucullata , Caesalpinia decapetala , Caesalpinia dignyna , Caesalpinia enneaphylla , Caesalpinia furfuracea , Caesalpinia hymenocarpa , Caesalpinia latisiliqua, Caesalpinia major, Caesalpinia mindorensis , Caesalpinia oppostitifolia , Caesalpinia parviflora , Caesalpinia pubescens , Caesalpinia pulcherrima , Caesalpinia scortechinii , Caesalpinia sumatrana , and Caesalpinia tortuosa , 1 in Solomon Islands, but not yet found in Malesia proper (Caesalpinia solomensis ), 3 introduced and now wide-spread (Caesalpinia coriaria , Caesalpinia pulcherrima , and Caesalpinia sappan ) and 2 occasionally cultivated, not treated here: C. spicara Dalz. and C. spinosa (Molina) Kuntze.

Mostly in (secondary) scrub-vegetation, sometimes coastal, rarely in primary forest, often in seasonally dry country, but sometimes also under everwet conditions, on various types of soil from sea level to c. 1700(-2000) m altitude. Some species appear to have a considerable ecological range.

The present treatment of Caesalpinia is chiefly based on the comprehensive revision published by Hattink (1974: 1-69).