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Free Content A taxonomic revision of the reinstated genus Leplaea and the newly recognized genus Neoguarea (Meliaceae, Sapindales): the exclusion of Guarea from Africa

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Background and aims – The taxonomy of the African representatives of the genus Guarea, among them a number of timber species, is badly understood. The group is revised.

Methods – Standard herbarium taxonomy practices were used. Specimens from fifteen different herbaria were studied. Using a GIS application and geo-referenced herbarium specimens, IUCN Red List categories are assessed for each species.

Key results – Morphological studies show that the group is distinct from the South-American members of Guarea and deserves generic status. This is supported by molecular data. Therefore the genus Leplaea is reinstated to accommodate five of the species formerly placed in Guarea and the new combinations are presented. Furthermore, two new species, L. adenopunctata E.J.M.Koenen & Wilde and L. cauliflora E.J.M.Koenen & Wilde are formally described. In addition to de Wilde's (2007) revision of Heckeldora, one more species, G. leonensis, is transferred to this genus and the new combination made. G. glomerulata is shown to be morphologically distinct and to deserve generic status as well. This is endorsed by molecular data. As a consequence, Guarea sect. Neoguarea Harms is granted generic rank to accommodate this species; the new genus is described and the new combination made. A generic key to the African Guareeae is provided, as well as a key to the species of Leplaea; botanical drawings, distribution maps and IUCN Red List categories are presented.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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  • Plant Ecology and Evolution (a continuation of Belgian Journal of Botany, incorporating Systematics and Geography of Plants) is an international journal devoted to ecology, phylogenetics and systematics of all 'plant' groups in the traditional sense (including algae, cyanobacteria, fungi, myxomycetes), also covering related fields such as comparative and developmental morphology, conservation biology, ecophysiology, evolution, phytogeography, pollen and spores, population biology, and vegetation studies. It is published by the Royal Botanical Society of Belgium and the Botanic Garden Meise and contains original research papers, review articles, checklists, short communications and book reviews.

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