Classification: Gossypieae

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The tribe Gossypieae is a division of subfamily Malvoideae of the angiosperm family Malvaceae. It appears to be a well defined group, characterised by the presence of gossypol glands.

Gossypieae is divided into the genera Cienfuegosia, Thespesia, Azanza, Hampea, Lebronnecia, Gossypium, Gossypioides, Kokia and Cephalohibiscus. Some recent authors propose including Alyogyne within Gossypieae, although it does not share the derived characteristics which define the remainder of the group. I prefer to place Alyogyne as incertae sedis, or within its own tribe, as it is relatively distant from (the remainder of) Gossypieae; I am not convinced that the data places it unequivocally nearer to Gossypieae than to any other element of Metamalvoideae (aka Eumalvoideae). Thepparatia was originally identified as being a member of this tribe, but a molecular study found it to be nested in Hibiscus[Reference("ThespesiaP");?>].

DNA sequence data is available for all genera. This shows the 7 sampled genera divided into 3 groups. One group consists of Gossypium, Gossypioides and Kokia, a second of Cephalohibiscus, Thespesia, Hampea and Lebronnecia, and the third of Cienfuegosia. It is not clear whether Cienfuegosia is sister to the 2nd group or to the combination of the first two groups.

In the 1st group Gossypioides (2 species; 1 in East Africa and 1 in Madagascar) is sister to Kokia (4 species in Hawaii). Gossypium is the most speciose genus in the tribe (approximately 50 species divided into 4 sub-genera, distributed pantropically, mostly in arid habitats) and represents a relatively recent radiation.

In the 2nd group Lebronnecia (1 species from the Marquesas Islands) is sister to Hampea (20 species from Meso-America and northern South America), and Thespesia is paraphyletic with respect to this pair. The genus Azanza may be resurrected in the pursuit of monophyly.

Cienfuegosia has 25 species in America and Africa. There may be a case for splitting this into two genera.


  1. K. Kubitzki and C. Bayer, The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants, Vol. 5 (2003)
  2. Phuphathanaphong, L. S. Puangpen,and G. Nuvongsri, Thepparatia (Malvaceae), a new genus from Thailand, Thai For. Bull. (Bot.) 34: 195-200 (2006)


  1. Fryxell, P.A., The Natural History of the Cotton Tribe (1979)
  2. Seelanan, T, Schnabel, A. & Wendel, J.F., Congruence and consensus in the cotton tribe, Syst. Bot. 22: 259-290 (1997),

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