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Monographing Myrcia s.l.

A new classification for Myrcia s.l. and ongoing Floristic revision.
Floristic series for which Myrcia s.l. treatments are being prepared. 
Neotropical Myrtaceae are particularly species-rich in some of South America’s most threatened habitats (e.g. the Caribbean islands, the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest and cerrado) where plant species inventories are urgently required to facilitate conservation initiatives. Low morphological variation makes Myrtaceae a ‘difficult’ family to identify at every taxonomic rank, hampering these inventories. A modern understanding of Myrcia s.l. taxonomy is now fundamental to projects prioritising areas for conservation based on floristic studies in these habitats.
The c. 750 species of Myrcia s.l. are undergoing re-organisation to a new taxonomic classification based on the findings of DNA based phylogeny and morphology. In preparation, a proposal has been submitted to conserve the name Myrcia over the older name Calyptranthes.The clade of Myrcia s.l. that includes Gomidesia (c. 50 spp.) is in preparation for Flora Neotropica and other monophyletic clades are in varying stages of preparation by researchers based at Kew or in Brazil.The Myrtaceae treatment for the Flora of the Guianas is co-ordinated from RBG Kew and in collaboration with international specialists.
2008 and 2010 saw the instigation of annotated checklists of the traditionally recognized genus Calyptranthes and 'clade 9' of Myrcia s.l. as identified in Lucas et al. (2011), respectively. These will include type details, distributions, preliminary IUCN ratings and commentary on systematic affinities of species. Typification of species concerned will also be updated. These publications will be accompanied by an online scratchpad including distribution maps, type specimen images and images of protologues. Interactive keys to these groups are planned to follow.
Key publications since 2006
  • Lucas, E.J., Matsumoto, K., Harris, S.J., Nic Lughadha, E.M., Bernardini, B., & Chase, M.W. (2011) Phylogenetics, Morphology, and evolution of the large genus Myrcia s.l. (Myrtaceae). Int. J. Plant Sci. 172(7): 915.
  • Lucas, E.J. & Sobral, M., (2011) Proposal to conserve Myrcia DC. ex Guillaumin over Calyptranthes Swartz. Taxon 60(2) 605.
  • Sobral, M., Costa Souza, M., Mazine-Capelo, F. & Lucas, E. (2010) Nomenclatural notes on Brazilian Myrtaceae. Phytotaxa 8: 51–58
  • Sobral, M., Proença, C., Costa Souza, M., Mazine-Capelo, F. & Lucas, E. (2009). Myrtaceae in Catálogo de Plantas e Fungos do Brasil, v. 2 Ed. Forzza, R.C. et al. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro.
  • Nic Lughadha, E.M., Vint, K & Lucas, E.J. (2010). Three new species of Gomidesia (Myrtaceae) – from Espírito Santo, Brazil, including notes on their conservation status. Kew Bull. 65 (1): 21.
  • Govaerts, R., Sobral, M., Ashton, P., Barrie, F., Holst, B.K., Landrum, L.L., Matsumoto, K., Mazine, F.F., Nic Lughadha, E., Proença, C., Soares-Silva, L.H., Wilson, P.G. & Lucas, E. (2008) World Checklist of Myrtaceae. (Kew Publishing: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). 


Project partners and collaborators


University of Brasília, State of Distrito Federal, Brazil

University of São Paulo, Brazil

University of São João del Rei, State of São Paulo, Brazil


USAMissouri Botanical Gardens
Selby Botanical Gardens
Arizona State University

Project funders

Part-funding received from the Systematics Association