Numerical taxonomy of Berlinia species (Caesalpinioideae: Leguminosae) and their distribution in Nigeria

Main Article Content

Emmanuel C. Chukwuma
Abiodun E. Ayodele
Michael Olasunkanmi Soladoye
Deborah Moradeke Adewumi


A morphometric study was performed on six Berlinia species of the Nigerian flora. Individual specimens deposited at Forest Herbarium Ibadan and University of Ibadan Herbarium formed the units of study.  Twenty morphological characters were assessed and analyzed following conventional taxonomic practice. Results showed a close resemblance between B. craibiana and B. grandiflora, which share affinity with B. bracteosa and B. confusa, while B. coriacea appears to be distantly related.  Species distribution studies revealed that B. grandiflora exists in savanna and forest regions while other members of the genus are found only in forest zones. While suggesting practical measures for conserving endangered Nigerian flora, we also recommend that further taxonomic studies be carried out on the genus Berlinia and its related allies to ascertain their placement within the Caesalpiniodeae.


Article Details

How to Cite
Chukwuma, E.C., Ayodele, A.E., Soladoye, M.O. and Adewumi, D.M. 2016. Numerical taxonomy of Berlinia species (Caesalpinioideae: Leguminosae) and their distribution in Nigeria. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 8, 2 (Feb. 2016), 8443–8451. DOI:
Author Biographies

Emmanuel C. Chukwuma, Forest Herbarium Ibadan (FHI), Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, P.M.B 5054, Jericho Hill, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

Emmanuel C. Chukwuma is a Research Scientist at Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria; plant taxonomist, and actively engaged in taxonomic research and conservation of Nigerian flora.


Abiodun E. Ayodele, Botany Department, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Abiodun E. Ayodele is a Professor with the University of Ibadan; plant taxonomist, and actively engaged in taxonomic research and conservation of Nigerian flora.


Michael Olasunkanmi Soladoye, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, Southwestern University Nigeria, Km 20 Sagamu-Benin Expressway, Okun Owa, PMB 2088, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria

Michael O. Soladoye is also a Professor with Southwestern University Nigeria; plant taxonomist, and actively engaged in taxonomic research and conservation of Nigerian flora.


Deborah Moradeke Adewumi, Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria

Deborah M. Chukwuma is a Lecturer with Federal University Oye-Ekiti; plant taxonomist, and actively engaged in taxonomic research and conservation of Nigerian flora.




Aborg, B. (1943). Physiologishe and okologiche studiendie pflanzcliche pholomorhoce. Syst. Bot. Upsaliens 8: 1–1.

Adams, D.C., F.J. Rohlf & D.E. Slice (2004). Geometric morphometrics: ten years of progress following the ‘revolution’. Italian Journal of Zoology 71: 5–16;

Adanson, M. (1763). Familles des Plantes, Partie I., Paris.

Ayodele, A.E. & Y. Yang (2012). Diversity and distribution of Vascular Plants in Nigeria. Qingdao Publishing House, China, 350pp.

Bisby, F.A. & R.M. Polhill (1973). The Role of Taximetrics in Angiosperm Taxonomy. II. Parallel Taximetric and Orthodox Studies in Crotalaria L. New Phytologist 72(3): 727–742;

Contu, S. (2012). Berlinia coriacea. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. . Downloaded on 24 August 2013.

Cowan, R.S. & R.M. Polhill (1981). Detarieae DC, pp. 117–134. In: Polhill R.M. & P.H. Raven (eds.). Advances in Legume Systematics - Part 1. Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens

El-Gazzar, A. & S. Rabei (2008). Taxonomic assessment of five numerical methods and its implications on the classification of Hyptis suaveolens Linn (Labiatae). International Journal of Botany 4: 85–92;

Gomez-Campo, C., J.M. Herranz-Sanz & F. Montero-Riquelme (2001). The genus Coincya Rouy (Cruciferae) in south-central Spain revisited: A morphometric analysis of population structure. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 135: 125–135;

Henderson, A. (2006). Traditional morphometrics in plant systematics and its role in palm systematic. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 151: 103–111;

Hepper, F.N. & F. Neate (1971). Plant collectors in West Africa. A. Oostoeks, Utrecht.

Holmgren, P.K., N.H. Holmgren & L.C. Barnett (eds.) (1990). Index Herbariorum - Part I: The Herbaria of the World (Regnum Veg. Vol. 120). New York Botanical Garden, New York.

Hutchinson, J. & J.M. Dalziel (1958). Flora of West Tropical Africa (Vol. 1 Part 2). Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, Millbank, London, 469–471pp.

IUCN (2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. [] Downloaded on 11 January 2016.

Jensen, R.J. (2003). The conundrum of morphometrics. Taxon 52: 663–671.

Keay, R.W.J. (1989). Trees of Nigeria. Oxford University Press, New York. 476pp.

Leonard, J. (1957). Genera des Cynometreae et des Amherstieae africaines (Leguminosae- Caesalpinioideae). Essai de blastogenie appliquee a la systematique. Memoires Academic Royale de Belggique 30(2): 1–312.

Leonard, J. (1965). Description de Tetraberlinia tubmaniana sp. nov. Considerations sur Tetraberlinia et les genres affins (Caesalpiniaceae africaines). Bulletin du Jardin Botanique de l’État à Bruxelles 35: 97-107.

Mackinder, B. (2001). Further systematic studies in Berlinia (Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae, Detarieae sensu lato). Systematics and Geography of Plants 71(2): 433–441;

Mackinder, B. & R.T. Pennington (2011). Monograph of Berlinia (Leguminosae). Systematic Botany Monographs 91. The American Society of Plant Taxonomists, 117pp.

Marcus, L.F. (1990). Traditional morphometrics, pp. 77–122. In: Rohlf, J.F & F.L. Bookstein (eds.). Proceedings of the Michigan Morphometrics Workshop. Special Publication no. 2. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.

Nwachukwu, C.U. (1997). Characterization of Maesobotrya barteri - var barteri M.Sc. Thesis, Imo State University, Nigeria.

Olowokudejo, J.D. (1999). Comparative Morphology of leaf epidermis in the genus Annona (Annonaceae) in West Africa. Phytomorphology 40: 407–422.

Roskov, Y., J. Zarucchi, M. Novoselova & F. Bisby (eds.). (2016). ILDIS World Database of Legumes (version 12, May 2014). In: Roskov Y., L. Abucay, T. Orrell, D. Nicolson, T. Kunze, C. Flann, N. Bailly, P. Kirk, T. Bourgoin, R.E. De Walt, W. Decock & A. De Wever (eds.). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 23rd December 2015. Digital resource at Species 2000: Naturalis, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Sneath, P.H.A. & R.R. Sokal (1963). Principles of Numerical Taxonomy. Freeman & Co., San Francisco & London, 359pp.

Soladoye, M.O. (1982). A numerical approach to the phenetic classification of the Genus Baphia Lodd. (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae - Sophoreae). Nigerian Journal of Science 16: 59–81.

Soladoye, M.O. & G.P. Lewis (2003). A Checklist of Nigerian Legumes. CENRAD Natural Resources Research Assessment and Conservation Series 03. Ibadan, Nigeria, West Africa, 141pp.

Soladoye, M.O., J.O. Ariwaodo, O.A. Ugbogu & E.C. Chukwuma (2011). A Morphometric study of species of the genera Sterculia Linn. and Eribroma Pierre (Sterculiaceae) in Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Botany 24(2): 192–210.

Soladoye, M.O., M.A. Sonibare & E.C. Chukwuma (2010). Morphometric study of the genus Indigofera Linn. (Leguminosae - Papilionoideae) in south-western Nigeria. International Journal of Botany 6(3): 227–234;

Sonibare, M.A., A.A. Jayeola & A. Egunyomi (2004). A morphometric analysis of the genus Ficus Linn. (Moraceae). African Journal of Biotechnology 3(4): 229–235;

Stern, K.R. (2000). Introductory Plant Biology. MacGraw-Hill Company Inc. United States of America, 630pp.