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Rubiaceae of Brazil - COMPLETED

Floristics and phylogeny of one of the world's largest plant families in the world's most biodiverse country

This long-term collaborative project is working towards a series of floristic and phylogenetic monographs convering the diversity and conservation of Rubiaceae, the fourth largest plant family worldwide. It aims to apply Kew’s botanical expertise through collaborative research and capacity building to provide data for the establishment of new conservation areas and to disseminate widely the scientific findings.

Monographic work focuses on the genera RudgeaFarameaCoussarea and Mitracarpus, describing, illustrating and mapping all recognized Brazilian species and subspecies of these genera. Where possible, IUCN Red List Conservation Assessments are included and recommendations for conservation action, protected areas and priorities for further study are made.

The project also addresses the need for floristic treatments and checklists of the family as a whole, such as contributions for Flora of Ecuador (Zappi 2006), Flora of São Paulo (Zappi 2007), Flora da Reserva Ducke (Taylor et al. 2007) and others.

The research is based on fieldwork and herbarium research that began in 1995 (Zappi & Stannard 1995). Capacity building within Brazil forms an important component of project activities, achieved by supervision or co-supervision of students from local universities, particularly the Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana. Research undertaken in the course of these studies contributes significantly to the project’s overall taxonomic and floristic outputs.

Field expeditions have been carried out twice a year, combined, whenever possible, with post-graduate courses and seminars on Rubiaceae and IUCN listing, as well as intensive herbarium visits throughout Brazil. The outputs include published revisions, masters and doctoral theses of several students, as well as contributions to local florulas and Floras.

Recently, the need for baseline taxonomic resources on the web has resulted in the coordination of the Rubiaceae da Mata Atlântica List, coordinated by Biodiversitas, and the current participation in the Lista do Brasil, coordinated by the Rio de Janeiro Botanic Garden. 

Key papers published since 2006

  • Zappi, D. C. (2006). Rudgea Salisb. In: Flora of Ecuador, Rubiaceae.1 ed.Malmo : Elanders Berlings. v. 162: 74 – 111.
  • Zappi, D. C. (2007). AlibertiaGenipa and Rudgea in Rubiaceae da Flora de São Paulo In: Flora Fanerogâmica do Estado de São Paulo. 5: 264 – 268; 344 – 345; 419 – 429. Imprensa Oficial do Estado de São Paulo.
  • Taylor, C. M., Campos, M. T. V. A. & Zappi, D. C. (2007). Flora da Reserva Ducke, Amazonas, Brasil: Rubiaceae. Rodriguésia 58: 549 – 616.
  • Jardim, J. G., Zappi, D. C. (2008). Two new species of Faramea (Rubiaceae, Coussareeae) from Eastern Brazil. Novon 18: 67 – 71.
  • Souza, E. B., Cabral, E. L., Zappi, D. C. (2010). Revisão de Mitracarpus (Rubiaceae - Spermacoceae) para o Brasil. Rodriguésia 61: 319 – 352
  • Barbosa, M. R. V., Zappi, D. C., Taylor, C. M., Cabral., E., Jardim, J. G., Pereira, M. S., Calió, M. F., Pessoa, M. C. R., Salas, R.M., Souza, E. B., DiMaio, F. R., Macias, L., Aununciação, E. A., Germano Filho, P. (2010). Rubiaceae. In: R.C. Forzza et al. (eds), Catálogo de Plantas e Fungos do Brasil. vol. 2: 1545 – 1591. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro.
  • Oliveira, C.T., Giacomin, L. L. & Zappi, D. C. (2011). Kerianthera longiflora (Rubiaceae), a remarkable new species from eastern Brazil, with some observations on K. preclara. Kew Bull. 66: 143 – 148. 

Project partners and collaborators


Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro

Universidade Estadual de Campinas

Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana

Universidade Estadual de Maringá

Universidade Federal da Paraíba

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte

Universidade de São Paulo


Instituto de Botánica Darwinion


Missouri Botanical Gardens

Project funders


Coordenadoria de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES)

Conselho Nacional de Pesquisas (CNPq)


Bentham-Moxon Trust

Kew Latin America Research Fellowships Programme

Margaret Mee Fellowship Programme

Project Department