Alkaloids as taxonomic characters in the tribe Crotalarieae (Fabaceae)

Ben erik Van Wyk, Gerhard H. Verdoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies of alkaloids have led to a better understanding of the intricate taxonomic relationships in the tribe Crotalarieae. Data from alkaloidal metabolites are largely congruent with morphological data, but allow refinement of the understanding of the phylogeny. A well-supported and almost fully resolved cladogram is presented, which shows that the genera can be grouped into four main clades: (1) an unspecialized group without α-pyridone alkaloids and without esters of alkaloids (Aspalathus, Lebeckia, Rafnia, Wiborgia and perhaps Spartidiurn); (2) a group specializing in lupanine-type esters (Pearsonia and Rothia); (3) a group with macrocyclic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (Crotalaria andLotononis); and (4) a specialized group with α-pyridone alkaloids (Argyrolobium, Dichilus, Melolobium and Polhillia).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-515
Number of pages13
JournalBiochemical Systematics and Ecology
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Crotalarieae
  • Leguminosae
  • chemotaxonomy
  • generic relationships
  • piperidyl alkaloids
  • pyrrolizidine alkaloids
  • quinolizidine alkaloids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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