Swartzia (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae) is a large (ca. 180 species) and ecologically important genus of trees and shrubs found throughout the New World tropics, particularly in lowland rainforests. Previous authors have divided Swartzia into a number of infrageneric groups based on morphology and have hypothesized about the evolutionary polarity of morphological characters. Thorough evaluation of previous classifications and evolutionary predictions will require new knowledge of phylogenetic relationships within Swartzia. This presentation summarizes previous infrageneric classifications and hypotheses of character evolution in Swartzia and discusses preliminary DNA sequence and morphological data that have been collected by the authors. These data will be used to construct a phylogeny reflecting the relationships among the major species lineages of Swartzia. A well-resolved phylogeny will serve as a basis for testing the monophyly of Swartzia and the infrageneric groups of previous authors and will provide an evolutionary context for investigating character polarity and adaptive transitions. Flower and fruit morphology are discussed and illustrated in relation to existing and planned studies of pollination biology and dispersal ecology. Recently discovered species and new monographic data on Swartzia series Tounateae are used as examples to illustrate the need for updated monographic and species delimitation work.

Key words: Fabaceae, Leguminosae, phylogeny, Swartzia, taxonomy