Diversity of Apiaceae in Africa

B. E. Van Wyk, P. M. Tilney

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14 Citations (Scopus)


A preliminary checklist of 76 genera and 368 species of Apiaceae in sub-Saharan Africa is presented. The list shows that 40 of the 67 indigenous genera and 321 of the 355 indigenous species of Apiaceae are endemic to Africa (respectively 60% and 90% endemism). The relatively low number of genera does not accurately reflect the importance of the large number of basal genera (17 of an estimated total of 25) that are restricted to Africa. These genera are taxonomically isolated within the Apioideae and Saniculoideae, with no obvious relatives. Amongst the unusual features pointing to a basal (ancestral) position within the Apiaceae are an arborescent or woody habit, deciduous leaves with dentate-aristate margins, unusual fruit wing patterns, woody endocarps, large rib oil ducts and the common occurrence of scattered crystals in the fruit. The anomalous African genera are of special significance in trying to understand the early divergence of the Apiaceae and the evolution of morphological characters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-445
Number of pages13
JournalSouth African Journal of Botany
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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