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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 10/1/2013)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 10/1/2013)
Contributor Peter S. White
Synonym Tephrosia Pers.,91 Syn. P1. 2: 328. 1807. Nomen conserv. contra Needhamia Scop., Reineria Moench. LECTOTYPE: T. villosa (L.) Pers. (Cracca villosa L.) Needhamia Scopoli, Introd. 310. 1777. Nomen rejic. contra Tephrosia. TYPE: Vicia littoralis Jacq. = Tephrosia littoralis (Jacq.) Pers. Reineria Moench., Suppl. Meth. Bot. P1. 44. 1802. Nomen rejic. contra Tephrosia. TYPE: R. reflexa Moench = Tephrosia reflexa (Moench.) DC. Cracca L., Sp. P1. 752. 1753; Gen. P1., ed. 5. 1754. Nomen rejic. contra Cracca Benth. TYPE: Cracca villosa L. Not Cracca Hill, Brit. Herb. 285. 1756. TYPE: not designated. Nor Cracca Medic., Vorl. Chrupf. Phys.-Okon. Ges. 2: 359. 1787. TYPE: Cracca benghalensis Medic. = Vicia ben- ghalensis L. Nor Cracca Benth., in Benth. et Oerst. Vidensk. Meddel. Naturhist. Foren. Kj0- benhavn 1853: 8. 1853. Nomen conserv. contra Cracca L. TYPE: Cracca glandulifera Benth.
Description Perennial herbs or shrubs, erect or trailing; base woody; roots usually heavy; pubescence usually close and dense. Leaves alternate, odd pinnate; leaflets (1-)3- 41, almost always hairy, at least beneath; secondary veins parallel, distinctively sharply ascending, ca. 300 to the midrib; rachis usually grooved above; estipellate but tufts of hairs sometimes present in the axils; stipulate. Inflorescence terminal or axillary, sometimes apparently leaf opposed but actually terminal and over- topped by the adjacent axillary branch, racemose, elongate, the flowers in clusters of 2-6 or more at the nodes, each cluster usually with a primary bract at the base and each pedicel with a secondary bract at the base. Flowers red, purple, or white, petals clawed, the standard hairy outside, often densely so, the wings about as long as the standard and usually basally adnate to the keel; stamens usually diadelphous, the vexillary stamen frequently fused to the stamen tube above, free at the base; ovary sessile, slender, usually hairy, the style bearded above in many species, or glabrous. Fruit flat, linear or oblong, straight or slightly curved, sessile, often obliquely contracted distally and beaked on the upper side by the persistent style base, continuous within or slightly septate, the valves usually coiling in dehiscence; seeds several to many, circular to oblong, flattened. Tephrosia is a genus of 250-400 species in temperate and tropical regions of North and South America, Africa, southern Asia, and Australia. It reaches its highest diversity in dry open habitats of Mexico. The four species reported from Panama are also characteristic of open habitats. Many species produce rotenone and related compounds which are used as fish poisons and insecticides, and at least several. species have been cultivated in the New World tropics for these purposes. Tephrosia has also been planted as a cover crop and green manure. Chromosomes: 2n = 22 (Wood, 1949).
Habit herbs or shrubs
Note The history of the names Tephrosia Pers., Cracca L., Cracca Benth., and Cracca Medic. may be confusing as presented in the synonymy above and is explained more fully below (see also Wood, 1949). In Species Plantarum (1753), Linnaeus described six species in the genus Cracca L. He subsequently (1759) submerged this genus in Galega. Soon it was recognized that Galega was a heterogeneous catchall of species, and segregate genera were proposed, one of which was Tephrosia Pers. (1807). At this point Tephrosia included all the original six Cracca L. species plus some other elements. Some of the included elements were later seen as extraneous to Tephrosia and were removed to other genera, leaving Tephrosia Pers. taxonomically equivalent to the original Cracca L. Other species were placed in Tephrosia by several workers. A new use of the name Cracca occurred when Bentham (1853) used the name for some of the original discordant elements in Galega. Confusion was heightened when Otto Kuntze, recognizing the priority of Cracca L., transferred all Te- phrosia Pers. species to Cracca L. For the species of Cracca Benth., Kuntze proposed the genus Brittonamra Kuntze. Yet a third use of the name was Cracca Medic. (1787) which was resurrected by Alefield in 1862 for species of Vicia L. Thankfully, this use of the name was more or less ignored, although Alefield introduced further confusion by proposing the name Benthamantha Alef. for the species of Cracca Benth. Except for Crac- ca Medic., these names were all in current use. Tephrosia Pers. and Cracca L. were in use for one group of plants; Cracca Benth., Brittonamra Kuntze and Benthamantha Alef. were in use for a second group of plants. Resolution oc- curred when Tephrosia Pers. and Cracca Benth. were conserved. Tephrosia Pers. is conserved against Needhamia Scopol. (1777) and Reineria Moench. (1802). Cracca L. is rejected against Cracca Benth., and is unavailable for re- jection against Tephrosia Pers. because Cracca Benth. (1853) is of a later date than Tephrosia Pers. (1807). Hill, in his British Herbal (1756), had also published Cracca (=Vicia L.). Like the later Cracca Medic. (1787; TYPE: Vicia bengha- lensis L.), this use of Cracca was more or less ignored. Cracca Benth. has been confused taxonomically with Tephrosia (=Cracca L.) but in Cracca Benth. the leaflets are stipellate, the wing petals free, the fruit septate, and the flowers often yellowish. Tephrosia is distinctive in the sharp angle of the secondary veins of the leaflets, the hairiness on the outside surface of the standard, and the often bearded style.
Reference Wood, C. E., Jr. 1949. The American barbistyled species of Tephrosia (Legu- minosae). Rhodora 51: 193-231; 233-302; 305-364; 369-384; pls. 1152-1155.
Key a. Low or trailing, weak, herbaceous plants; inflorescences often appearing leaf opposed; style glabrous or only ciliate at the apex; leaflets 1-3 cm long, 0.1-0.3 cm wide ...... 4. T. tenella aa. Upright, stout herbs or shrubs; inflorescence evidently axillary or terminal; style barbate above; leaflets 2-8 cm long, 0.5-2.0 cm wide. b. Leaflets 5-13, oblong with cuneate base, thick; leaves and hypanthium silvery silky; calyx lobes 3-6 mm long ...... 2. T. nitens bb. Leaflets 15-41, narrowly elliptic, the base thinner; leaves and hypanthium with usually yellowish to brownish hairs; calyx lobes less than 3 mm long. c. Lateral lobes of calyx obliquely and abruptly acute or acuminate, unlike the lower lobe in shape ...... 3. T. sinapou cc. Lateral lobes of calyx acute to acuminate, symmetrically tapered and approxi- mately the same shape as the lower lobe ...... 1. T. multifolia
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