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Vegetative key and synopsis of African forest Celastraceae

To develop an identification aid to the African forest Celastraceae based on vegetative features, together with a synopsis of the taxa.
Salacia lebrunii known from only six localities. Pictured here from Bechati, Cameroon, van der Burgt No. 870, Sept. 2006 (Xander van der Burgt).

In Wet African forests, Celastraceae are frequently encountered.  The c. 130 species are mainly lianas.  Salcioid genera with fleshy primate dispersed fruits are common in the understorey, while hippocrateoid genera with winged seeds are restricted to the canopy.


Currently, identification of specimens depends on the availability of flowering material, yet on surveys in the forests most species are encountered when sterile.  However, there are numerous vegetative characters that have the potential to aid species level identification.


The objective of this project, driven by our baseline surveys in the wet forests of Africa, is to develop an identification aid to species based on vegetative features, together with a synopsis for the taxa.  Completion is expected in 2016.

Project team

Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives

George Gosline

Science Teams: 
Project Leader: