Fruit features have historically been used as one of the cardinal characters for subfamilial, tribal and generic classification in the family Rubiaceae. Recent phylogenetic studies using rbcL, trnL-F, rps16 and ITS1&2 and detailed palynological analyses have shown that the Catesbaeeae-Chiococceae Complex (CCC) is a group that includes approximately 27 genera and 196 species primarily concentrated in the Greater Antilles (nearly 70% of the taxa), Central and South America, and with 3 genera occurring in Malesia and the South Pacific. These molecular analyses showed that utility of fruit characters must be carefully reconsidered, and demonstrated that fleshiness of the mesocarp, placentation, ovule number and insertion are variable within monophyletic groups. Based on these phylogenies, it was possible to detect pattern of flower and fruit evolution within this group. All the analyses clearly indicate that the ancestral fruit type of the CCC is a multi-seeded capsule, from which were apparently derived leathery berries and drupaceous fruits in several, separate, evolutionary events. In addition, the molecular phylogenies prompted a revaluation of the generic delimitations within the CCC, which will be used for the ongoing monographic treatment of this group.

Key words: Caribbean, Catesbaeeae, Chiococceae, Morphology, Rubiaceae, Systematics