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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Gentianales

Familia: Rubiaceae
Subfamilia: Ixoroideae
Tribus: Vanguerieae
Genus: Canthium
Species: C. aciculatum – C. angustifolium – C. approximatum – C. arboreum – C. aurantiacum – C. berberidifolium – C. bipinnatum – C. brunneum – C. calvum – C. cambodianum – C. campanulatum – C. cavaleriei – C. ciliatum – C. coffeoides – C. confertum – C. congestiflorum – C. cordatum – C. coromandelicum – C. culionense – C. depressinerve – C. ellipticum – C. fenicis – C. ferrugineum – C. filipendulum – C. fraternum – C. glandulosum – C. glaucum – C. gracilipes – C. hainanense – C. hirtellum – C. hispidonervosum – C. horridulum – C. horridum – C. inerme – C. korthalsianum – C. kuntzeanum – C. laeve – C. lasianthoides – C. leytense – C. libericum – C. longipes – C. lucidulum – C. lucidum – C. macrocarpum – C. megacarpum – C. megistocarpum – C. merrillianum – C. merrillii – C. mite – C. molle – C. moluccanum – C. neilgherrense – C. oblongifolium – C. oblongum – C. oliganthum – C. oligocarpum – C. parvifolium – C. paucinervium – C. pedunculare – C. perakanthus – C. polyanthum – C. puberulum – C. quadratum – C. rheedei – C. sarcocarpum – C. sarmentosum – C. scabridum – C. scandens – C. schlechterianum – C. siamense – C. simile – C. sordidum – C. spinosum – C. spirostylum – C. stellulatum – C. strigosum – C. strychnoides – C. subaureum – C. subcapitatum – C. suberosum – C. subsessilifolium – C. sumatranum – C. tavoyanum – C. travancoricum – C. trichophorum – C. umbelligerum – C. vanwykii – C. villarii – C. violaceum

Canthium Lam. Encyc. 1: 602. (1783)

Type species: Canthium coromandelicum (Burm.f.) Alston, Handb. Fl. Ceylon 6(Suppl.) 152. (1931) originally designated as synonym Canthium parviflorum Lam., Encycl. 1: 602. (1785) without reference to basionym Gmelina coromandelina Burm.f., Fl. Indica: 132. (1768)


Lycioserissa Roem. & Schult., Syst. Veg., ed. 15 bis 4: 353. (1819)
Dondisia DC., Prodr. 4: 469. (1830)
Psilostoma Klotzsch ex Eckl. & Zeyh., Enum. 361. (1837)
Clusiophyllea Baill., Adansonia 12: 197. (1879), not validly publ.

Native distribution areas:

West Tropical Africa
West-Central Tropical Africa
Burundi, Rwanda, Zaïre.
Northeast Tropical Africa
Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan.
East Tropical Africa
Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda.
South Tropical Africa
Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Southern Africa
Botswana, Cape Provinces, Caprivi Strip, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Swaziland, Northern Provinces.
China South-Central, Hainan, China Southeast.
Indian Subcontinent
Assam, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka.
Andaman Islands, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam.
Borneo, Jawa, Lesser Sunda Islands, Malaya, Maluku, Philippines, Sulawesi, Sumatera.
New Guinea.
Southwestern Pacific
Samoa, Wallis-Futuna Islands.
Northwestern Pacific
Caroline Islands.

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition

Lamarck, J.B.A.P. de Monnet de 1783. Encyclopédie Méthodique, Botanique 1: 602.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Canthium in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jan. 26. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Canthium. Published online. Accessed: Jan. 26 2019. 2019. Canthium. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jan. 26.

Canthium is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae. They are shrubs and small trees. The leaves are deciduous and the stems are usually thorny.


Canthium species are predominantly found in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand and the Philippines.[1] A small number of species is found in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Only a limited number of species is found on the African continent, especially in Southern and East Africa.[2]


Canthium was named by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785 in Encyclopédie Méthodique.[3] The name is a latinisation of "kantankara", a Malayalam name from Kerala for Canthium coromandelicum. Kantan means "shining" and kara means "a spiny shrub".[4] The biological type for the genus consists of specimens originally described by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck as Canthium parviflorum[5] but this species is now included in Canthium coromandelicum.[1] Canthium is a member of Vanguerieae, a tribe that is monophyletic and easily recognized morphologically, but in which generic boundaries were, for a long time, very unclear.[6] Canthium was especially problematic, and until the 1980s, it was defined broadly and known to be polyphyletic. Psydrax was separated from it in 1985,[7] as was Keetia in 1986.[8] These were followed by Pyrostria and Multidentia in 1987.[9][10] The subgenus Afrocanthium was raised to generic rank in 2004,[11] followed by Bullockia in 2009.[12] A few species were transferred to Canthium from Rytigynia and other genera in 2004.[11] The genus was further reduced by the transfer of species to Peponidium and Pyrostria.[13] In 2016, two Canthium species endemic to the Philippines were transferred to a genus of their own, Kanapia.[14] The final circumscription of Canthium will remain in doubt until phylogenetic studies achieve greater resolution for the clade containing Canthium coromandelicum and its closest relatives.


Canthium aciculatum Ridl.
Canthium angustifolium Roxb.
Canthium arboreum Vidal
Canthium aurantiacum Merr. & L.M.Perry
Canthium berberidifolium Geddes
Canthium bipinnatum (Blanco) Merr.
Canthium brunneum (Merr.) Merr.
Canthium calvum Craib
Canthium cambodianum Pit.
Canthium campanulatum Thwaites
Canthium cavaleriei H.Lév.
Canthium ciliatum (D.Dietr.) Kuntze
Canthium coffeoides Pierre ex Pit.
Canthium congestiflorum Ridl.
Canthium cordatum Dillwyn
Canthium coromandelicum (Brum.f.) Alston
Canthium depressinerve Ridl.
Canthium ellipticum (Merr.) Merr.
Canthium fenicis (Merr.) Merr.
Canthium ferrugineum Craib
Canthium filipendulum Pierre ex Pit.
Canthium fraternum Miq.
Canthium glaucum Hiern
Canthium gracilipes Kurz
Canthium hainanense (Merr.) Lantz
Canthium hirtellum Ridl.
Canthium hispidonervosum (De Wild.) C.M.Evrard
Canthium horridulum Craib
Canthium horridum Blume
Canthium inerme (L.f.) Kuntze
Canthium korthalsianum Miq.
Canthium kuntzeanum Bridson
Canthium laeve Teijsm. & Binn.
Canthium lasianthoides Miq.
Canthium libericum Dinkl.
Canthium longipes Geddes
Canthium longipetalum Y.H.Tan & S.S.Zhou
Canthium lucidum R.Br.
Canthium macrocarpum Thwaites
Canthium malayense K.M.Wong
Canthium megacarpum (Merr.) Merr.
Canthium megistocarpum Merr. & L.M.Perry
Canthium merrillianum Mabb.
Canthium merrillii (Setch.) Christoph.
Canthium mite Bartl. ex DC.
Canthium molle King & Gamble
Canthium moluccanum Roxb.
Canthium oblongum (Valeton) Kaneh.
Canthium oliganthum (Miq.) Boerl.
Canthium oligocarpum Hiern
Canthium parvifolium Roxb.
Canthium paucinervium (Merr.) Merr.
Canthium pedunculare Cav.
Canthium perakanthus ined.
Canthium polyanthum Miq.
Canthium puberulum Thwaites ex Hook.f.
Canthium quadratum Craib
Canthium rheedei DC.
Canthium sarcocarpum (Merr.) Merr.
Canthium sarmentosum Craib
Canthium scabridum Ridl.
Canthium scandens Blume
Canthium schlechterianum Merr. & L.M.Perry
Canthium simile Merr. & Chun
Canthium sordidum (K.Schum.) Bullock
Canthium spinosum (Klotzsch ex Eckl. & Zeyh.) Kuntze
Canthium spirostylum Miq.
Canthium stellulatum Craib
Canthium strigosum Craib
Canthium strychnoides Craib
Canthium subaureum Craib
Canthium subcapitatum (Merr.) Merr.
Canthium suberosum Codd
Canthium subsessilifolium (Merr.) Merr.
Canthium tavoyanum (R.Parker) Merr.
Canthium travancoricum Bedd.
Canthium trichophorum Quisumb. & Merr.
Canthium umbelligerum Miq.
Canthium vanwykii Tilney & Kok
Canthium villarii Vidal
Canthium violaceum Zoll. & Moritzi

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Canthium.

Bridson DM (1992). "The genus Canthium (Rubiaceae - Vanguerieae) in tropical Africa". Kew Bulletin. 47 (3): 353–401. doi:10.2307/4110569. JSTOR 4110569.
"Canthium in the World Checklist of Rubiaceae". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
Lamarck J-B (1785). Encyclopédie méthodique par ordre des matières. 1. p. 602.
Quattrocchi U (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 1. Boca Raton, New York, Washington DC, London: CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-2675-2.
Canthium In: Index Nominum Genericorum. In: Regnum Vegetabile
Lantz H, Bremer B (2005). "Phylogeny of the complex Vanguerieae (Rubiaceae) genera Fadogia, Rytigynia, and Vangueria with close relatives and a new circumscription of Vangueria". Plant Systematics and Evolution. 253 (1–4): 159–183. doi:10.1007/s00606-005-0313-9. S2CID 30867982.
Bridson DM (1985). "The reinstatement of Psydrax (Rubiaceae, subfam. Cinchonoideae tribe Vanguerieae) and a revision of the African species". Kew Bulletin. 40 (4): 687–725. doi:10.2307/4109853. JSTOR 4109853.
Bridson DM (1986). "The reinstatement of the African genus Keetia (Rubiaceae subfam. Cinchonoideae tribe Vanguerieae)". Kew Bulletin. 41 (4): 965–994. doi:10.2307/4102996. JSTOR 4102996.
Bridson DM (1987). "Studies in African Rubiaceae - Vanguerieae: a new circumscription of Pyrostria and a new subgenus, Canthium subgen. Bullockia". Kew Bulletin. 47 (3): 611–639. doi:10.2307/4110068. JSTOR 4110068.
Bridson DM (1987). "The recognition and recircumscription of the African genus Multidentia (Rubiaceae - Vanguerieae)". Kew Bulletin. 47 (3): 641–654. doi:10.2307/4110069. JSTOR 4110069.
Lantz H, Bremer B (2004). "Phylogeny inferred from morphology and DNA data: characterizing well-supported groups in Vanguerieae (Rubiaceae)". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 146 (3): 257–283. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2004.00338.x.
Razafimandimbison SG, Lantz H, Mouly A, Bremer B (2009). "Evolutionary trends, major lineages, and new generic limits in the dioecious group of the tribe Vanguerieae (Rubiaceae): insights into the evolution of functional dioecy". Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 96 (1): 161–181. doi:10.3417/2006191. S2CID 86065468.
Kainulainen K, Razafimandimbison SG (2016). "New taxonomic combinations in West Indian Ocean Vanguerieae (Rubiaceae)". Phytotaxa. 282 (4): 267–272. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.282.4.3.
Arriola AH, Paraguison LD, Alejandro GJ (2016). "Kanapia (Vanguerieae): a new endemic genus of Philippine Rubiaceae". Plant Systematics and Evolution. 302 (7): 911–920. doi:10.1007/s00606-016-1307-5. S2CID 14815565.

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