Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 303, Issue 3, pp 337–369 | Cite as

Systematics, distribution and conservation of Cascabela (Apocynaceae: Rauvolfioideae: Plumerieae) in Mexico

  • Leonardo O. Alvarado-CárdenasEmail author
  • José L. Villaseñor
  • Lauro López-Mata
  • Joselin Cadena
  • Enrique Ortiz
Original Article


Cascabela is a Neotropical genus of Apocynaceae with six species: C. balsaensis, C. gaumeri, C. ovata, C. pinifolia, C. thevetia and C. thevetioides. Its taxonomic history has long been a subject of controversy, especially due to its circumscription as a genus closely related to Thevetia. In this work, we revised the taxonomy of Cascabela for Mexico and provide detailed descriptions and illustrations. We also applied species distribution models and geographical information tools to evaluate chorological aspects of the six species occurring in Mexico and provide a conservation category. According to our results, Cascabela has a typical tropical distribution within Mexico, and the Balsas basin was identified as an area of diversity and endemism for the genus. The species C. ovata and C. thevetia have the broadest distribution ranges, and we assigned them the category of least concern. We suggest that the restricted, endemic species C. balsaensis, C. pinifolia and C. thevetioides be considered for protection. The genus was corroborated as an element of deciduous forest, and its cultural importance is highlighted.


Chorology Species distribution models Taxonomy Thevetia 



The first author thanks CONACYT for a postdoctoral grant to carry out this work. We are thankful to the staff at the herbaria cited throughout the manuscript. We thank Lucio Lozada Pérez and Ernesto Velázquez Montes for their suggestions, which greatly improved this manuscript and Diego Alvarado C. for his help in compiling information on herbarium specimens into a database. Lynna M. Kiere reviewed the English version. We thank three anonymous reviewers, who improved previous version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biología Comparada, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexicoMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de Botánica, Instituto de BiologíaUNAMMexicoMexico
  3. 3.Programa de BotánicaColegio de PostgraduadosMontecilloMexico

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