A Taxonomic Review of South African Indigenous Meliaceae Using Molecular Systematics and Anatomical Data

Mariam Oyefunke Oyedeji Amusa, Ross Dylan Stewart, Michelle van der Bank, Ben Erik van Wyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Meliaceae are broadly distributed worldwide, with about 50 genera and over 1400 species. There are 11 genera in South Africa, with 13 indigenous and three naturalized species. Considering the diversity of the indigenous species of this family in South Africa and the lack of recent studies encompassing these species, a taxonomic revision of the South African indigenous species of Meliaceae is presented here. Phylogenetic analysis, anatomical data, herbarium collections, and online data sources were used in this study. The results confirm the monophyly of Melioideae and Swietenioideae. The incongruence of Turraea previously reported was resolved in this study. Most representative genera of South African Meliaceae were recovered monophyletic with strong support. However, multiple samplings of species and including more markers could provide a better understanding of the relationships among South African species of Meliaceae. The review of the taxonomy of the South African Meliaceae, and especially the study of diagnostic characters and hitherto recorded natural distributions, have value in providing an up-to-date inventory of the indigenous genera and species and an easy means of identifying the taxa. Anatomical characters may be of systematic value to explore higher-level relationships in the family. This study is a contribution to tropical botany and to a more comprehensive database for the Meliaceae.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • anatomy
  • diagnostic characters
  • geographical distribution
  • Meliaceae
  • molecular phylogeny
  • South Africa
  • taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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