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  1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Centrosema (DC.) Benth.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & Subtropical America.


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

    Herbs or subshrubs, climbing or prostrate
    Leaves pinnately (1–)3(–7)-foliolate, rarely digitately 3–5-foliolate; stipules not spurred, persistent; stipels present
    Inflorescences axillary, falsely racemose, (1–)few-many-flowered; rhachis often thickened at the insertion of the pedicels; bracts paired, mostly persistent, striate, those towards the apex of the inflorescence united; bracteoles adpressed to the calyx, striate
    Calyx 5-lobed, the upper pair of lobes united to form an emarginate or bifid lip
    Standard rounded, spurred or rarely with a tubercle on the back above the claw
    Vexillary stamen free or ± joined with the others; anthers uniform
    Ovary linear, many-ovuled; style bent, compressed towards the summit, spathulate, pubescent or bearded at the apex, stigma terminal
    Pods linear, compressed, with 4 raised nerves or wings, filled between the seeds
    Seeds oblong or globose, compressed; hilum linear, oblong or narrowly elliptic; aril small or absent.

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

    Herbs or subshrubs
    Tropical and subtropical bushland formations derived from seasonal forest, woodland, wooded grassland and shrubland, also forest margins
    S America (most spp. in Brazil), C America, Caribbean, Mexico and SE USA; 3 spp. widely introduced in the Old World
    Placed in subtribe Clitoriinae (see comments under Clitoria)

    Previous accounts of the Phaseoleae by Baudet (1978) and Lackey (1981) recognised 90 and 84 genera and c. 1540 and 1480 species respectively in the tribe. In an equivalent, i.e. traditionally held view of Phaseoleae, 89 genera and (1554)–1567–(1580) species are treated here (Table 9; Fig. 47). Changes between Baudet (1978) and this treatment are that eleven genera are now in synonymy or have subsequently been placed in Millettieae, two genera have been transferred from Desmodieae and eight new genera have been added. Vigna has traditionally been thought to comprise some 150–200 species, but Vigna sens. strict. may contain fewer than 100.

    Recent molecular analyses of the tribe, however, have emphasised both the polyphyletic and paraphyletic nature of Phaseoleae as traditionally circumscribed (Bruneau & Doyle, 1990; Doyle & Doyle, 1993; Delgado Salinas et al., 1993; Bruneau et al., 1995; Doyle et al., 1997, 2000; Kajita et al., 2001; Goel et al., 2001; Lee & Hymowitz, 2001). This has required a radical realignment of elements of the phaseoloids (Table 9; Fig. 47), with at least two major clades being evident: Phaseoleae subtribes Diocleinae and Ophrestiinae which together with tribe Abreae are allied to the core-Millettieae (Fig. 45), and the remaining groups comprising a Phaseoleae sens. lat. clade. The rbcL phylogeny of Kajita et al. (2001) and the ITS analysis of Hu et al. (2002) are equivocal as to which clade subtribe Clitoriinae belongs. Phaseoleae sens. lat. also includes two traditionally independent tribes, the Desmodieae and Psoraleeae. Delimiting a recircumscribed Phaseoleae sens. strict is thus very problematic. A solution may be to recognise a broad tribe Phaseoleae, comprising the subtribes Kennediinae, Cajaninae, Phaseolinae and Glycininae, assorted basally branching genera, and tribes Desmodieae and Psoraleeae (both treated at subtribal level).


    Leguminosae, B. Mackinder, R. Pasquet, R. Polhill & B. Verdcourt. Flora Zambesiaca 3:5. 2001

    Climbing herbs or subshrubs.
    Leaves pinnately 3-foliolate in the Flora Zambesiaca area, elsewhere (1)3(7)-foliolate; stipules small, striate; stipels present.
    Inflorescences (1)few–many-flowered, falsely racemose; bracts paired, striate; bracteoles appressed to the calyx, striate.
    Calyx 5-lobed, the upper pair largely joined into a bifid lip.
    Corolla showy; standard broad, with a conspicuous spur on the back above the claw, often pubescent outside.
    Vexillary filament free or joined to the others at the base.
    Ovary linear, many-ovuled; style curved, flattened and slightly widened towards the terminal stigma, pubescent or bearded at the apex.
    Pod linear, with 4 raised nerves or wings, dehiscent.
    Seeds variously coloured, oblong or ellipsoid, with an elliptic to linear hilum.
    Important forage and pasture crops with a broad range of tolerance of extreme conditions; also used as cover crops and green manure



    Native to:

    Alabama, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Arkansas, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Cayman Is., Colombia, Colorado, Costa Rica, Cuba, Delaware, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Florida, French Guiana, Georgia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kentucky, Leeward Is., Louisiana, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Mississippi, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Panamá, Paraguay, Pennsylvania, Peru, Puerto Rico, Queensland, South Carolina, Southwest Caribbean, Suriname, Tennessee, Texas, Trinidad-Tobago, Turks-Caicos Is., Uruguay, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Virginia, Windward Is.

    Introduced into:

    Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Benin, Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Burkina, Cameroon, Central African Repu, China South-Central, China Southeast, Christmas I., Congo, Cook Is., Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Hainan, India, Ivory Coast, Jawa, Kazan-retto, Kenya, Liberia, Malaya, Mauritius, Mozambique, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Nicobar Is., Nigeria, Niue, Northern Territory, Philippines, Réunion, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Society Is., Solomon Is., Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Western Australia, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Accepted Species


    Other Data

    Centrosema (DC.) Benth. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Mar 22, 2006 Ribas, O.S. [3038], Brazil K000920984
    Sep 20, 1991 Hatschbach, G.G. [52947], Brazil K000920958
    Oct 20, 1989 Cavalcanti, T.B. [44665], Brazil K000920980
    Oct 20, 1989 Isejima, E.M. [CFCR5437], Brazil K000920981
    Jan 1, 1978 Glaziou [15914], Brazil K000920962
    Philcox, D. [3903], Brazil K000920964
    Lewis, G.P. [CFCR6685], Brazil K000920952
    Zarucchi, J.L. [2832], Brazil K000920970
    Pirani, J.R. [1590], Brazil K000920971
    Coradin, L. [8476], Brazil K000920983
    Coradin, L. [8475], Brazil K000920982
    Guedes, M.L. [PCD1965], Brazil K000920966
    Heringer, E.P. [4866], Brazil K000920946
    Heringer, E.P. [6714], Brazil K000920947
    Heringer, E.P. [4155], Brazil K000920950
    Heringer, E.P. [4058], Brazil K000920956
    Heringer, E.P. [1449], Brazil K000920963
    Heringer, E.P. [4929], Brazil K000920979
    Calderon, C.E. [2721], Brazil K000920951
    Brooks, R.R. [480], Brazil K000920976
    Brooks, R.R. [442], Brazil K000920977
    Brooks, R.R. [TMEX487], Brazil K000920978
    Salles, A.E.H. [100], Brazil K000920957
    Silva, R.M. [CFCR9758], Brazil K000920959
    Thomas, W.W. [4556], Brazil K000920973
    Prance, G.T. [16782], Brazil K000920972
    Delprete, P.G. [9591], Brazil K000920955
    Monteiro, R.F. [292], Brazil K000920975
    Saavedra, M.M. [690], Brazil K000920954
    Sazima, M. [s.n.], Brazil K000920949
    Gibbs, P. [2464], Brazil K000920960
    Leoni, L.S. [583], Brazil K000920974
    Hatschbach, G.G. [70437], Brazil K000920945
    Hatschbach, G.G. [34716], Brazil K000920948
    Hatschbach, G.G. [62277], Brazil K000920965
    Hatschbach, G.G. [41358], Brazil K000920969
    Tibiriçá, Y.J.A. [107], Brazil K000920953
    Burchell [7386], Brazil K000920961
    Burchell [6997], Brazil K000920967
    Burchell [9527], Brazil K000920968


    First published in Ann. Wiener Mus. Naturgesch. 2: 117 (1838)

    Accepted by

    • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.


    Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • —F.T.A. 2: 176.

    Flora Zambesiaca

    • Comm. Leg. Gen.: 53 (1837) nom. conserv.

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Comm. Leg. Gen.: 53 (1837), nom. conserv .


    Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    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.

    Kew Science Photographs
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    Legumes of the World Online