Original Research

The Rhynchosia totta complex (Phaseoleae, Fabaceae) in Southern Africa, including the description of a new variety and new species

Annah N. Moteetee, M. Marianne Le Roux
Bothalia | Vol 46, No 1 | a2041 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v46i1.2041 | © 2016 Annah N. Moteetee, M. Marianne Le Roux | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 November 2015 | Published: 28 September 2016

About the author(s)

Annah N. Moteetee, Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
M. Marianne Le Roux, Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology, University of Johannesburg and South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), South Africa


Background: The Rhynchosia totta complex is one of three taxonomically complicated African groups in the genus Rhynchosia. Numerous southern African species and infraspecific taxa (at least 19 names, 17 species and 2 varieties) have been described by various authors in the past, but were later reduced into synonymy with  R. totta. Currently, only the typical variety is recognised in Southern Africa.
Objectives:  To investigate and update the circumscription of the taxa within the  R. totta complex in southern Africa and to update their synonymies and distribution ranges.
Methods: Specimens of R. totta at GRA, JRAU, K, NH and PRE were studied and compared, and measurements of characters recorded. Populations were also observed during field studies.
Results: The examination of numerous specimens, as well as field investigations, has prompted the recognition of four varieties (one described here as new: R. totta var. longicalyx) and a new species (R. pedunculata) in southern Africa.
Conclusions: A great variation in leaf structure and vestiture occurs within the R. totta complex, with the extreme forms easily recognisable. However, the total number of varieties are limited to four [R. totta vars. totta,  longicalyx,  rigidula and venulosa] and a new species described to accommodate specimens with a distinctly prostrate habit and upwardly directed leaves.


Cajanineae; morphology; new species; Rhynchosia; taxonomic studies; typification


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