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Published In: Genera Plantarum 2: 9, 24. 1873. (7-9 Apr 1873) (Gen. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 10/6/2016)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 2/9/2018)

The Tribe Coussareeae, as circumscribed by Bremer & Eriksson (2009) and Bremer & Manen (2000), belongs to Subfamily Rubioideae and includes 8 American genera with about 300 species. These plants range from shrubs and trees to perennial and in a few cases annual herbs. Most are tropical but a few genera grow in temperate southern South America (Cruckshanksia, Oreopolus); several genera have geophytic plants (Declieuxia, Oreopolus) and one species of Cruckshansia is a desert annual. Raphides are present. The stipules vary from interpetiolar and entire to variously lobed, to united around the stem or calyptrate. The inflorescences are cymose, and variously axillary and terminal. The flowers are hermaphroditic or in some species dioecious (e.g., Coussarea). Most of the species are distylous.S pecies of some genera have petaloid calycophylls (Hindsia, Cruckshanksia, Oreopolus). The corolla lobes are valvate in bud. The fruit vary widely, from dry and capsular with numerous seeds (e.g., Cruckshanksia, Heterophyllaea, Hindsia) to fleshy with numerous seeds (Coccocypselum), to dry and drupaceous (Declieuxia), or fleshy with a single locule and seed (e.g., Coussarea, Faramea). Overall as shown by Bremer & Manen (2000) this tribe is heterogenegous and thus difficult to characterize morphologically.

The Coussareeae was long circumscribed to include Coussarea, Faramea, and the African genus Schizocolea, all with fleshy fruit wih a single seed. Using molecular data Bremer & Manen (2000) found Schizocolea to be unrelated to these other two genera, and found the Tribe Coussareeae to include a set of American genera with a wide variety of ovary characters and fruit form; this new, well supported view of this tribe along with several other studies by Bremer and collaborators showed that the characters that supported previous classifications in Rubiaceae were often homoplasious, and altered much of the basic thinking about Rubiaceae systematics, biogeography, and morphological variation and adaptation. (Razafimandimbison et al. (2008) and Rydin et al. (2008) found Schizocolea still in the Rubioideae, and sister to the "Psychotrieae alliance", which comprises at least 8 related tribes, rather than closely related to Coussareeae.)

One fossil is reported for this tribe, comprising pollen of Faramea from the Upper Eocene (mean age 37 mya) of Panama. However Bremer & Eriksson's analysis calculated the divergence time of this Tribe Coussareeae as older, ca. 65.4 mya, putting it in the Paleocene. Although the circumscription of this tribe is generally clear, the relationships among the genera are not yet fully clarified and most of the genera have never been comprehensively reviewed.

Author: C.M. Taylor
The content of this web page was last revised on 6 October 2016.
Taylor web page: http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/Research/curators/taylor.shtml

Distribution: Lowland to montane wet tropical forest, also seasonal tropical forest, cerrado, and savannas, and in temperate vegetation in the Atacama desert and the southern Andes, Mexico and the Antilles widely through South America to Tierra del Fuego.
Taxa Included Here: Genera of Coussareeae, sensu Bremer & Eriksson (2009):
Coussarea Aubl.
Cruckshanksia Hook. & Arn.
Declieuxia Kunth
Faramea Aubl.
Heterophyllaea Hook.f.
Oreopolus Schltdl.

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