Haematoxylum L., Sp. Pl. 1: 384. 1753

Gagnon, Edeline, Bruneau, Anne, Hughes, Colin E., de Queiroz, Luciano Paganucci & Lewis, Gwilym P., 2016, A new generic system for the pantropical Caesalpinia group (Leguminosae), PhytoKeys 71, pp. 1-160 : 25

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Haematoxylum L., Sp. Pl. 1: 384. 1753


3. Haematoxylum L., Sp. Pl. 1: 384. 1753 Figs 5E-G View Figure 5 , 7 View Figure 7

Haematoxylon L., 1764, orthographic variant.

Cymbosepalum Baker, 1895.


Haematoxylum campechianum L.


Multi-stemmed shrubs to 3 m, to medium-sized trees, 3-15 m in height, armed with scattered straight conical spines, 0.5-1.5 cm long on shoots, and the short, lateral shoots spinescent; mature trees with conspicuously fluted trunks, shrubs often with ribbed branches; young stems reddish brown to grey, glabrous to pubescent, eglandular (or with stalked glands in Haematoxylum dinteri ). Leaves alternate, pinnate or bipinnate (both can be present on the same individual in some species), glabrous to pubescent, eglandular, 1-10 cm long; pinnate leaves with 2-6 pairs of leaflets, 2.5-35 × 3-30 mm, glabrous to slightly pubescent, eglandular; bipinnate leaves with 1-3 pairs of pinnae plus a terminal pinna, each pinna with 2-5 (-6) pairs of leaflets, 5-11 × 2-4.5 mm; leaflets in opposite pairs, obcordate to obovate, apex emarginate to obtuse, base cuneate to attenuate (occasionally obtuse), short-petiolulate; primary vein centric, secondary veins ascending, and forming a sharp angle with the primary vein. Inflorescences terminal or axillary racemes or panicles of pedicellate flowers; rachis and pedicels unarmed, glabrous to pubescent, eglandular or glandular. Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic to zygomorphic; calyx comprising a hypanthium and 5 free sepals that are c. 6-7 mm long, glabrous to pubescent, eglandular or glandular, the lower sepal cucullate and slightly covering the other 4 in bud, sepals caducous, hypanthium persisting in fruit, forming a calyx ring; petals 5, yellow to pale yellow or white, free, imbricate, obovate to oblanceolate, 4-10 mm long; stamens 10, free, filaments pubescent, particularly on the lower half; ovary glabrous to pubescent. Fruit flattened, membranaceous to chartaceous, oblong to fusiform (occasionally falcate), apex rounded to obtuse, base acute, dehiscing along the middle of the valves, or near the margin of the fruit, but never along the sutures, 10-50 × 4-15 mm, 1-3-seeded. Seeds oblong to reniform, flattened, 6-12 × 3.8-5 mm.

Geographic distribution.

Haematoxylum comprises five species: two in Central America (Salvador to Costa Rica), Mexico, South America (Colombia and Venezuela) and the Caribbean (perhaps introduced), two endemic to Mexico and one in Southern Africa (Namibia).


Deserts, seasonally dry tropical semi-deciduous scrub and thorn scrub, sandy river beds and dry rocky hillsides. One species ( Haematoxylum campechianum ) is known to grow in frequently inundated marshy areas by rivers.


From haemato - (Greek: bloody) and xylon (Greek: wood), alluding to the blood-red heartwood of Haematoxylum campechianum L. which produces a brilliant red dye.


There is a key to species by Durán and Sousa, in Novon 23(1): 31-36 (2014).


Standley and Steyermark (1946); Ross (1977: 122-114); Roux (2003); Curtis and Mannheimer (2005: 215); Durán and Ramírez (2008); Barreto Valdés (2013); Durán and Sousa (2014).












Haematoxylum L., Sp. Pl. 1: 384. 1753

Gagnon, Edeline, Bruneau, Anne, Hughes, Colin E., de Queiroz, Luciano Paganucci & Lewis, Gwilym P. 2016


J.G.Baker 1895