1. Family: Fabaceae Lindl.
    1. Abrus Adans.

      1. This genus is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & Subtropical Old World to SW. Pacific.

    [FTEA]

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

    Habit
    Woody subshrubs or lianes
    Leaves
    Leaves paripinnate; stipules small, usually persistent; stipels minute, filiform; leaflets numerous, opposite, the rhachis projecting beyond the last pair
    Inflorescences
    Inflorescences axillary or terminal, the flowers in fascicles on short reduced branchlets, often arranged unilaterally on the rhachis, or rarely sessile in the axils; bracts and bracteoles present, short save in A. canescens
    Flowers
    Flowers small, white, yellow, pink or dark purple
    Calyx
    Calyx subtruncate, denticulate or with 5 short teeth, the upper pair partly united
    Corolla
    Standard ovate to round, with a short broad claw, glabrous
    Stamens
    Stamens 9, joined into a tube split at the apex; vexillary stamen absent; anthers uniform or 4 slightly smaller
    Pistil
    Ovary subsessile, many-ovuled; style short, incurved, not bearded; stigma capitate
    Fruits
    Pods linear or oblong, subturgid or compressed, more or less septate
    Seeds
    Seeds subglobose or ellipsoid and compressed, usually shining, sometimes bright red and black; hilum small, eccentric; rim-aril sometimes developed, usually minute or absent.
    [FZ]

    Flora Zambesiaca Leguminosae subfamily Papillionoideae by D.K. Harder

    Habit
    Stipules small, usually persistent; stipels filiform; rachis projecting beyond the last pair of leaflets. Stipules small, usually persistent; stipels filiform; rachis projecting beyond the last pair of leaflets.
    Inflorescences
    Inflorescence axillary or terminal, the flowers in fascicles on short reduced branchlets, often arranged unilaterally on the rachis, or rarely sessile in the axils; bracts and bracteoles present. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, the flowers in fascicles on short reduced branchlets, often arranged unilaterally on the rachis, or rarely sessile in the axils; bracts and bracteoles present.
    Flowers
    Flowers small, white, yellow, pink or dark purple. Flowers small, white, yellow, pink or dark purple.
    Corolla
    Standard ovate to round, with a short broad claw, glabrous. Standard ovate to round, with a short broad claw, glabrous.
    Ovary
    Ovary subsessile, many-ovuled; style not bearded; stigma capitate.
    Stamens
    Upper stamen absent. Upper stamen absent.
    Pistil
    Ovary subsessile, many-ovuled; style not bearded; stigma capitate.
    Fruits
    Pods linear or oblong, subturgid or compressed, or ± septate. Pods linear or oblong, subturgid or compressed, or ± septate.
    Seeds
    Seeds subglobose or ellipsoid and compressed, sometimes bright red and black; rim aril sometimes developed, usually minute or absent. Seeds subglobose or ellipsoid and compressed, sometimes bright red and black; rim aril sometimes developed, usually minute or absent.
    [LOWO]

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

    Habit
    Climbing subshrubs (sometimes lianas) or herbs
    Ecology
    Seasonally dry tropical forest, woodland, wooded grassland, grassland, shrubland, bushland and thicket, often in open disturbed vegetation, along margins and in seasonally wet or in rocky areas
    Distribution
    Africa (c. 8 spp.), Madagascar (5 spp.), India (1 sp.) and Indo-China (1 sp.), 2 spp. widespread in the Old World (both also occur - probably introduced - in the New World)
    Note
    Some species are difficult to classify and species limits have been much discussed, with Verdcourt (1970b) and Breteler (1960; 1994a) putting opposing opinions; the classification of Verdcourt is followed here

    The tribal placement of the isolated genus Abrus (with 17 species) has long been problematic (Polhill 1981e: 243–244). The most recent molecular analyses of Doyle et al., 2000; Hu, 2000; Hu et al., 2000; Kajita et al., 2001; Wojciechowski, 2003 & Wojciechowski et al., 2004), however, consistently place Abrus near the base of the clade comprising the core-Millettieae and various elements excluded from Phaseoleae sens. lat. (Figs. 45–47). This basally branching position together with the unusual combination of paripinnate leaves, 9 stamens and a chemical profile of tryptophane-derived alkaloids (abrine and hypaphorine) and pyridine-based alkaloids (precatorine and trigonelline), supports the maintenance of Abrus as a separate monogeneric tribe for the present. Improved understanding of relationships is likely to result from greater sampling within the millettioid-phaseoloid complex.

    The Abreae are predominantly Afro-Madagascan in distribution with 3 species endemic to the Horn of NE Africa. The remaining species are Asian and 2 species are pantropical. New World representatives (from Amazonian Brazil and Venezuela) of the pantropical A. melanospermus Hassk. subsp. tenuiflorus (Benth.) D. Harder [= A. pulchellus Wall. ex Thwaites subsp. tenuiflorus (Benth.) Verdc.]), are possibly distinct from Old World material of this subspecies (Verdcourt, 1970b).

    [LOWO]
    Use
    The type species A. precatorius L. is commonly known as false or Indian liquorice, crab's-eye, jequirity or prayer bead ; the attractive shiny bicoloured seeds (red and black) are commonly used in necklaces and costume jewellery, but are highly poisonous and can be lethal if ingested; other uses are as medicine for a wide range of conditions (medical supervision essential); for fibre; green manure; ornamentals; a sweetener for drinks and the root can be a substitute for liquorice (although beware of toxic properties); also has various cultural and spiritual uses

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Aldabra, Andaman Is., Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Benin, Borneo, Botswana, Burkina, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Cape Verde, Caprivi Strip, Central African Repu, Chad, China South-Central, China Southeast, Comoros, Congo, East Himalaya, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Hainan, India, Ivory Coast, Jawa, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Laos, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New South Wales, Nicobar Is., Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Queensland, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Western Australia, Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Introduced into:

    Bahamas, Belize, Bismarck Archipelago, Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Cayman Is., Colombia, Cook Is., Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Florida, French Guiana, Galápagos, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Leeward Is., Lesser Sunda Is., Marquesas, Mauritius, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Niue, Panamá, Peru, Puerto Rico, Rodrigues, Réunion, Samoa, Santa Cruz Is., Society Is., Southwest Caribbean, Sumatera, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad-Tobago, Tuamotu, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Wallis-Futuna Is., Windward Is.

    Abrus Adans. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Dupuy, D.J. [M 478], Madagascar 61069.000

    First published in Fam. Pl. 2: 327 (1763)

    Accepted by

    • Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 529. MIM, Deurne.

    Literature

    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    • —F.T.A. 2: 174.
    Flora Zambesiaca
    • Verdcourt in Kew Bull. 24: 235–253 (1970).
    • —Verdcourt in Kew Bull. 24: 235–253 (1970).
    • Breteler in Blumea 10: 607 (1960).
    • —Breteler in Blumea 10: 607 (1960).
    • Fam. Pl. 2: 327 (1763).
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Verdc. in K.B. 24:235 (1970)
    • Breteler in Blumea 10: 607 (1960)
    • Fam. Pl. 2: 327 (1763)

    Sources

    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Legumes of the World Online
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0