Cephaelis Sw. has been shown to comprise a polyphyletic assemblage of species, many of which are more closely related to species in other genera than they are to each other (Steyermark, 1972, pp. 406-717), and the genus is no longer recognized. Cephaelis was originally distinguished by its inflorescence arrangement, capitate or subcapitate with well developed, sometimes involucral bracts surrounding individual capitula and/or the entire inflorescence. These characteristics are highly variable in many genera (Robbrecht, 1988), and thus are no longer considered good indicators of evolutionary relationships. Therefore, Cephaelis is not currently recognized as a separate genus in formal taxonomy, although it continues to be cited anecdotally. Its species have been or are being transferred to other genera, mostly Psychotria, Margaritopsis (= Eumachia), and Palicourea.
The type of Cephaelis is C. muscosa (Jacq.) Sw. (type cons.), originally described from Martinique, which belongs to the wholly Neotropical group Palicourea (e.g., Sedio et al., 2013). Thus, "Cephaelis" applies to a Neotropical species group, and the species from Africa and Asia that have been included in Cephaelis mostly belong to Psychotria s. str. Many of the African species with capitate, bracteate inflorescences were originally described in Grumilea, Uragoga, or Evea, and these genera have been circumscribed inconsistently by various authors. Grumilea is a synonym of Psychotria (Razafimandimbison et al., 2014), Evea is a synonym of Faramea that was diagnosed by its capitate involucrate inflorescences, and Uragoga is an illegitimate name that is typified by a species of Carapichea.
Several names in Cephaelis have entered into wide use but were never actually published. Some principal sources for these unpublished names are:
1.) photos of type specimens distributed by the Field Museum: several names originally published in Psychotria were simply written on these photos as "Cephaelis", with no indication of the genus of original publication. This apparently was done as a curatorial indication that these species would be better placed in Cephaelis. In particular, Mueller Argoviensis did not recognize the genus Cephaelis, so any Cephaelis name attributed to him was not published in that form. This list also contains several incorrectly spelled epithets.
2.) early volumes of Index Kewensis: several names that were actually published in Evea, a synonym of Cephaelis, were "corrected" in early parts of this work, and cited as if they had been originally published in Cephaelis.
3.) annotations on specimens: in particular, several of names that were never published were distributed through specimen annotations by K. Krause (B), K. Schumann (B), and Dwyer (MO).
In a morphological analysis of the tribe Sabiceeae (subfamily Ixoroideae), Khan et al. (2008) formally synonymized Cephaelis with Sabicea in their nomenclatural summary but this appears to be a typographic or presentation error. The type species of Cephaelis is not included in their analysis, and this synonymization is not mentioned in the abstract, discussion, or summary of results. Possibly the intention of the presentation here was to note that the species of Sabicea that were classified at one time in Cephaelis are included within the circumscription of Sabicea here, in which case citing Cephaelis in the formal generic nomenclatural summary is not accurate.
The list below covers Cephaelis names for neotropical species of with their currently accepted identities as far as known. For names from outside the Americas, the identities of Cephaelis names has not yet been surveyed fully by me.
Author: C.M. Taylor
The content of this web page was last revised on 3 May 2016.
Taylor web page: http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/Research/curators/taylor.shtml