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Dombeya wallichii2.jpg
Pink-ball (Dombeya wallichii) inflorescence
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Dombeyoideae
Genus: Dombeya

Several, see text


Acropetalum A.Juss.
Assonia Cav.
Astrapaea Lindl.
Cavanilla J.F.Gmel. (non Vell.: preoccupied)[verification needed]
Hilsenbergia Boj.
Koenigia Comm. ex Juss. (non L.: preoccupied)
Leeuwenhoeckia E.Mey. ex Endl.
Stewartia Comm. ex Adans. (non L.: preoccupied)
Vahlia Dahl
Walcuffa J.F.Gmel.
Walkuffa Bruce ex Steud.
Xeropetalum Delile

Dombeya is a flowering plant genus. Traditionally included in the family Sterculiaceae, it is included in the expanded Malvaceae in the APG and most subsequent systematics. These plants are known by a number of vernacular names which sometimes, misleadingly, allude to the superficial similarity of flowering Dombeya to pears or hydrangeas (which are unrelated). Therefore, the genus as a whole is often simply called dombeyas. The generic name commemorates Joseph Dombey (1742–1794), a French botanist and explorer in South America, involved in the notorious "Dombey affair", embroiling scientists and governments of France, Spain, and Britain for more than two years.


These plants grow chiefly throughout Africa and Madagascar. Madagascar has the majority of species, with approximately 175 native species. 19 are found on the African mainland, with one, Dombeya torrida, also extending into the southwestern Arabian Peninsula.[1] 24 species are native to the Mascarene Islands, of which 23 are endemic to the islands.[2] Dombeya acutangula is native to east Africa, Madagascar, and the Mascarenes, with a disjunct population in Laos in Southeast Asia.[3]


Formerly believed to hold only about 80 species, in the present delimitation, Dombeya is one of the most speciose Malvaceae genera, containing as many as 255 species. Most have been moved here from distinct genera, which are now considered junior synonyms.[4] Some of these might warrant recognition as subgenera, to show the evolutionary and phylogenetic patterns of the numerous dombeyas more clearly.[5] In addition to the synonyms listed here, Astiria is suspected to be a rather distinct derivative of Dombeya and would thus have to be included in the present genus.[5] This requires renaming of species, as A. rosea conflicts with D. rosea, a junior synonym of D. burgessiae. Furthermore, several species have been moved here from related genera that are still valid, namely Pentapetes.[4]

Dombeya of L'Héritier de Brutelle is a synonym of Tourrettia (Bignoniaceae). Dombeya of Lamarck is a synonym of Araucaria.

Selected species[edit]

There are 203 accepted species of Dombeya.[6] Selected species include:


  1. ^ Skema, Cynthia. “Toward a New Circumscription of Dombeya (Malvales: Dombeyaceae): A Molecular Phylogenetic and Morphological Study of Dombeya of Madagascar and a New Segregate Genus, Andringitra.” Taxon, vol. 61, no. 3, 2012, pp. 612–628. JSTOR, Accessed 23 Aug. 2021.
  2. ^ Le Péchon, Timothée, Qiang Dai, Li-Bing Zhang, Xin-Fen Gao, and Hervé Sauquet (2015). "Diversification of Dombeyoideae (Malvaceae) in the Mascarenes: Old Taxa on Young Islands?" International Journal of Plant Sciences Volume 176, Number 3 March/April 2015.
  3. ^ "Dombeya acutangula Cav.". Plants of the World Online, Kew Science. Accessed 23 August 2021.
  4. ^ a b Hinsley (2008)
  5. ^ a b Cao et al. (2006)
  6. ^ "Dombeya Cav.". Plants of the World Online, Kew Science. Accessed 23 August 2021.
  7. ^ Cao et al. (2006), Hinsley (2008)


  • Cao, Nathanaël; Le Pechon, Timothée & Zaragüeta-Bagils, René (2006): Does minimizing homoplasy really maximize homology? MaHo: A method for evaluating homology among most parsimonious trees. C. R. Palevol 7(1): 17–26. doi:10.1016/j.crpv.2007.12.008 (HTML abstract)
  • Hinsley, Stewart R. (2008): Partial Synonymy of Dombeya. Retrieved 2008-JUN-25.

External links[edit]