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Mackinder, Barbara A.

Photo of Barbara Mackinder
Job title: 

Honorary Research Associate

Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives
Joined Kew: 


Foreign languages: 

Basic French

Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc, Biological Sciences, NE Surrey College,1988
  • MSc (Distinction), Plant Biodiversity and Taxonomy, Univerity of Edinburgh, 1999.
  • PhD, University of Edinburgh, 2006.

Advancing knowledge in the Systematics, Conservation and Evolution of tropical African Leguminosae.

The exploration and explanation of legume diversity carried out in this role is pivotal to a positive outcome in the conservation of the wider African flora because the “legumes” are the most species rich family in tropical Africa. My research and that of my students is focussed on the legumes of subfamily Caesalpinioideae, tribe Detarieae which is a principally African taxon and at 80+ genera is the second largest tribe in the family. Detarioid legumes include economically important species such as Tamarindus indica (Tamarind), ecologically dominant species such as Gilbertiodendron dewevrii, tropical horticultural glories such as Schotia brachypetala and critically endangered conservation priorities such as the Ghanaian endemic species Talbotiella gentii.

The role contributes to RBG Kew’s position as a global centre of tropical African research and methodologies employed are both multidisciplinary and collaborative. Recent and current projects include systematic studies and phylogenetic investigations of several genera including Berlinia, Cynometra, Guibourtia, Hymenostegia and Talbotiella. At higher taxonomic levels research includes species conservation studies of natural groups such as the ca 200 species in 18 genera that form the exclusively tropical African Berlinia group clade. The role also involves collaboration in an international effort to elucidate the phylogeny of the Leguminosae and to develop a lineage-based modern classification for the family.

Selected publications: 

Mackinder, B. A. & Wieringa, J. J. (2013). Annea gen. nov. (Detarieae, Caesalpinioideae, Leguminosae): a home for two species long misplaced in Hymenostegia sensu lato. Phytotaxa 142(1): 1-14.

Wieringa, J. J., Mackinder, B. A. & van Proosdij, A. S. J. (2013). Gabonius gen. nov. (Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae, Detarieae), a distant cousin of Hymenostegia endemic to Gabon. Phytotaxa 142(1): 15-24.

Mackinder, B. A., Saslis-Lagoudakis, H.,Wieringa, J. J., Devey, D., Forest, F. & Bruneau, A. (2013). The tropical African Scorodophloeus clade includes two undescribed Hymenostegia segregate genera and Micklethwaitia, a rare, monospecific genus from Mozambique. South African Journal of Botany 80: 156-163.

Mackinder, B. A. & J. J. Wieringa. (2013). Hymenostegia viridiflora (Detarieae, Caesalpinioideae, Leguminosae), a new tree species from Cameroon. Blumea 58: 13-17.

Wieringa, J. J. & Mackinder, B. A. (2012). Novitates Gabonensis 79: Hymenostegia elegans and H. Robusta spp. nov. (Leguminosae – Caesalpinioideae) from Gabon. Nordic Journal of Botany 30: 144-152.