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Carapa.org - Definition


Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification. The word comes from the Greek τ?ξις, taxis (meaning 'order', 'arrangement') and ν?μος, nomos ('law' or 'science'). More at Wikipedia

Nomenclatura of the genus Carapa Aublet

The genus Carapa Aubl. has been studied by David Kenfack during his Ph D dissertation at University of Missouri and Missouri Botanical Garden (USA).

This dissertation is based on the systematics and evolution of the genus Carapa (Meliaceae). This is a poorly known genus of small to medium-sized trees of rain forest in western tropical Africa, central and northern South America, and the West Indies. The current literature recognizes 3 species in the new world and only one in Africa. Since the creation of the genus in 1775, thirty-three species names have been published, of which only three are considered valid today. However, there is a general consensus concerning the extreme variability of these 3 species. There is variation in individual trees habit, leaf length, leaflet shape and number, inflorescence branching, flower size, number of ovules per carpel, fruit size and the degree of development of resinous warts on their surface (see images). The objective of this study was to provide a new circumscription of species in Carapa using an evolutionary approach. The chosen approach was  (1) to describe and analyze the pattern of variation in Carapa using field observations and characters that had not been carefully observed and evaluated in the past, (2)  to provide information on the habitat and uses of the different species for their better conservation. Currently, a species-level phylogeny using DNA sequencing of populations spanning the entire range of Carapa has been carried out in order to account for criptic genetic variation and in order to reconstruct the dispersal scenarios.


Kenfack D. (2008) Systematic studies in Carapa (Meliaceae-Swietenioideae). Ph.D. Thesis, Univeristy of Missouri-St. Louis. 265 p.


Botanists Odile Poncy and David Kenfack during a field expedition at essequibo river, Iwokrama, Guyana. (c) Pierre-Michel Forget, March 2006.