The woody genera Pictetia and Poitea represent two of the most speciose endemic legume radiations in the Greater Antilles. Yet component, three-area-statements, and Brooks parsimony analysis suggest that Tertiary history has little influenced the distribution of these genera. Either widespread taxa and composite areas mask Early Tertiary influences or the two genera have little history on these islands. Alternatively, nucleotide diversity, evolutionary rates, and coalescent analyses of molecular phylogenies all suggest antiquity of the Pictetia and Poitea radiations. These molecular biogeographic approaches are used to identify and estimate the ages of old endemic Tethyan radiations. These results are corroborated by confirming a species-area disequilibrium among the legume floras for islands of the world. Age of island biota and area of island are both needed to most accurately predict especially endemic numbers of legume taxa. The findings presented here combined with the legume fossil record suggest that both Pictetia and Poitea stem from Early Tertiary North American boreotropical ancestors. Thus, Wolfe's hypothesis that the Greater Antilles harbor boreotropical relicts finds support.

Key words: biogeography, boreotropics hypothesis, Fabaceae, Greater Antilles, Pictetia, Poitea