Cephaelis (Rubiaceae: Psychotrieae)

Charlotte M. Taylor

Cephaelis Sw. has been shown to comprise a polyphyletic assemblage of species, many of which are more closely related to species in other genera than they are to each other (Steyermark, 1972). Cephaelis was originally distinguished by its inflorescence arrangement, capitate or subcapitate with well developed, sometimes involucral bracts surrounding individual capitula and/or the entire inflorescence. These characteristics are highly variable in many genera (Robbrecht, 1988), and thus are no longer considered good indicators of evolutionary relationships. Therefore, Cephaelis is not currently recognized as a separate genus, and its species have been or are being transferred to other genera, in most cases Psychotria (see "List of Netropical Cephaelis Names", below).

Psychotria poeppigiana Muell. Arg. in Guyana

Psychotria aubletiana Steyerm. in Costa Rica

The type of Cephaelis is C. muscosa (Jacq.) Sw. (type cons.), originally described from Martinique, which belongs to the Neotropical group Psychotria Subg. Heteropsychotria Steyerm. (Taylor, 1996). Thus, "Cephaelis" in its original circumscription was completely Neotropical; species from Africa and Asia that have been included in this genus belong to Psychotria Subg. Psychotria or other genera. Many of the African species with capitate, bracteate inflorescences were originally described in Grumilea, Uragoga or Evea; Uragoga and Evea were also based on Neotropical type species, and are synonyms of Cephaelis.

Several names in Cephaelis have entered into wide use in herb. but were never actually published. Some principal sources for these unpublished names are: