Caesalpinioideae is a botanical name at the rank of subfamily, placed in the large family Fabaceae or Leguminosae. Its name is formed from the generic name Caesalpinia.
The Caesalpinioideae are mainly trees distributed in the moist tropics. Their flowers are zygomorphic, but are very variable. Nodulation is rare in this subfamily, and where it does occur nodules have a primitive structure.
Because the Papilionoideae and Mimosoideae arose from within the Caesalpinioideae, the Caesalpinioideae is paraphyletic. Therefore, it is likely to be split into several subfamilies, although it is not yet clear what those subfamilies should be.
In some classifications, for example the Cronquist system, the group is recognized at the rank of family, Caesalpiniaceae.
The genera may be classified in four tribes, Caesalpinieae, Cassieae, Cercideae and Detarieae. The tribe Cercideae has sometimes been included in the subfamily Faboideae (aka Papilionoideae) in the past.
About 81 genera of predominantly African distribution. See main article for details.
* Bruneau, B., F. Forest, P.S. Herendeen, B.B. Klitgaard, and G.P. Lewis. 2001. Phylogenetic relationships in the Caesalpinioideae (Leguminosae) as inferred from chloroplast trnL intron sequences. Systematic Botany 26: 487–514 (link to abstract here)
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