Morphological data and sequences from the nuclear ribosomal ITS region, and the chloroplast trnL intron and matK locus were sampled from robinioid legumes to infer phylogenetic relationships. The monophyletic robinioid clade includes 11 genetically and often morphologically distinct subclades ranked as genera with the following well supported higher level relationships: ((Hebestigma, Lennea), ((Gliricidia, Poitea), (Olneya, Robinia, Poissonia, Coursetia, Peteria, Genistidium, and Sphinctospermum))). In order to render all 11 robinioid genera monophyletic, the genus Hybosema is synonymized with Gliricidia, and the genus Poissonia is resurrected to accommodate four morphologically disparate species previously classified in Coursetia. Three new combinations are required to accommodate these two generic recircumscriptions: Gliricidia robustum, Poissonia heterantha, and Poissonia weberbaueri. Ages of clades and evolutionary substitution rates are derived from a rate-smoothed Bayesian likelihood approach on sequences from the ITS region and the matK locus. Time constraints are derived from the Tertiary fossil wood species Robinia zirkelii, which shares apomorphic wood characters with the Robinia stem clade. The Cuban endemic Hebestigma is estimated to have diverged at least 38 Ma from its Mesoamerican sister genus Lennea, whereas the Greater Antillean Poitea is estimated to have diverged at least 16 Ma from its continental sister Gliricidia. This study reveals that sequences from the ITS region are amenable to exhaustive taxon sampling because of the high levels of variation at and below the species level. The evolutionary substitution rate for the ITS region is estimated at 3.1–3.5 x 10–9 substitutions/site/year, approximately an order of magnitude faster than that estimated for the matK locus.
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