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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Fabales

Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamilia: Faboideae
Tribus: Podalyrieae
Genus: Virgilia
Species: V. divaricata – V. oroboides

Virgilia Lam.

Andrastis Raf. ex Benth.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Africa
Regional: Southern Africa
Cape Provinces
Introduced into:
India, Queensland

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

Lamarck, J.-B. 1791–1793 ["1791"]. Tableau encyclopédique et méthodique des trois règnes de la nature. Botanique. Premiere livraison. XVI+496 pp., tt. 1–111. Panckoucke, Paris. BHL Biblioteca Digital Reference page. : 1: 454

Additional references


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Virgilia in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 May 26. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Virgilia. Published online. Accessed: May 26 2021. 2021. Virgilia. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 May 26.
Hassler, M. 2021. Virgilia. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 May 26. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2021. World Plants. Synonymic Checklist and Distribution of the World Flora. (Virgilia). Virgilia (Fabaceae). Accessed: 26 May 2021.

Virgilia is a genus of Southern African trees in the family Fabaceae that is known for its very fast growth (4.5m in 2 years) and a tendency to fall over as it matures (15 years or so). The common name in South Africa (in Afrikaans) is keurboom, meaning 'choice tree'.[6] Valued as useful

A mature tree in South Africa.

The genus was described by Jean Louis Marie Poiret and published in Encyclopédie Méthodique in 1808. Most botanists feel that the two species are simply forms and should be lumped under one species, Virgilia oroboides. That would mean that the current V. divaricata is simply a darker form limited to the forested region of Knysna, South Africa. Virgilia oroboides had a number of synonyms, while both V. oroboides and V. divaricata had both been named V. capensis by different authors.[7]

Below is a list of offers species of the genus Virgilia accepted until July 2014 , sorted alphabetically. For each one, the binomial name followed by the author is indicated, abbreviated according to the conventions and uses.

Virgilia divaricata Adamson
Virgilia oroboides (PJ Bergius) TM Salter


These are small to medium sized trees, up to 15 to 20 meters tall, filling space easily in the garden. The tree has shiny green, fern-like, pinnate foliage and displays attractive pea-like, mauve/pink, fragrant flowers (which smell like bubblegum) during warmer months that will be followed by dark, leathery seed pods.[8]

Growing in full sun to partially shade, they prefer well drained soils; some will then grow 2m in the first season. They will tolerate wind and have dense foliage growing close to the ground, so they are useful as pioneer species for privacy and wind protection, despite having a comparatively short life (15 years). Popular in the UK since the 18th century or so, they are also now commonly present in the USA and Australia.
See also

Virgilia is the larval food plant of the moth Leto venus.


Boatwright JS; Savolainen V; Van Wyk B-E; Schutte-Vlok AL; Forest F; Van der Bank M (2008). "Systematic position of the anomalous genus Cadia and the phylogeny of the tribe Podalyrieae (Fabaceae)". Syst Bot. 33 (1): 133–147. doi:10.1600/036364408783887500. S2CID 53341490.
Cardoso D, Pennington RT, de Queiroz LP, Boatwright JS, Van Wyk BE, Wojciechowski MF, Lavin M (2013). "Reconstructing the deep-branching relationships of the papilionoid legumes". S Afr J Bot. 89: 58–75. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2013.05.001.
Van Wyk B-E. (1986). "A revision of the genus Virgilia (Fabaceae)". S Afr J Bot. 52 (4): 347–353. doi:10.1016/S0254-6299(16)31532-0.
"ILDIS LegumeWeb entry for Virgilia". International Legume Database & Information Service. Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
USDA; ARS; National Genetic Resources Program. "GRIN species records of Virgilia". Germplasm Resources Information Network—(GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
Mbambezeli, Giles; Notten, Alice; Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (August 1, 2003), Virgilia divaricata & Virgilia oroboides, accessed September 28, 2006
Mbambezeli G, Notten A (August 2003). "Virgilia divaricata & Virgilia oroboides". Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Retrieved 28 September 2006.

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