G-Scholar Profile 



Euphorbia project:




Ricarda Riina
  • Research scientist
  • Speciality:

    Sistemática, evolución, biogeografía, Euphorbiaceae, florística.

  • Geographical region:Worldwide
  • Line of research: Plant evolutionary biology
  • Professional profile

    My research is focused on the systematics and evolution of species-rich plant lineages. I use molecular phylogenetics to address questions about evolutionary history, morphological evolution, and to unravel patterns of species diversification and geographic distribution of the mega-diverse and widely distributed genera Croton and Euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae). I am interested in understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic factors involved in the process of species diversification and whether key adaptations or/and ecological opportunities have triggered explosive diversification events in the evolutionary history of those lineages. Other questions that I am starting to address are related to the evolution of floral morphology in Croton and its possible relation to changes in pollination systems. Finally, part of my work also involves the construction of taxonomic classifications of lineages within Euphorbiaceae using a phylogenetic framework but considering morphological patterns.  In doing so, I also conduct taxonomic revisions of selected groups, contribute to regional floras and checklists, and describe new taxa.

    Selected Publications
  • da Silva, M.J.; Feitosa, G.L.; Riina, R. 2021. Seek and you shall find: rediscovery of the Brazilian Euphorbia burchellii (Euphorbiaceae) after nearly a century and a half, with a conspectus of Euphorbia sect. Anisophyllum species in the state of Goiás, Brazil. Phytotaxa 479(1):83-94. 

  • da Silva, O.L.M. Braun, P.; Riina, R.; Cordeiro, I. 2021. Three new species of Euphorbia subgenus Chamaesyce (Euphorbiaceae)endemic to Brazil. European Journal of Taxonomy 733:72-86. 

  • Masa-Iranzo, I.; Sanmartín, I.; Caruzo, M.B.R.; Riina, R. 2021. Skipping the Dry Diagonal: spatio-temporal evolution of Croton section Cleodora (Euphorbiaceae) in the Neotropics. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 197(1):61-84. 

  • Moonlight, P.W.; Banda-R, K.; Phillips, O.L.; Dexter, K.G.; Pennington, R.T.; Baker, T.R.; De Lima, H.C, Fajardo, L.; González-M.; R.; Linares-Palomino, R.; Lloyd, J.. Nascimento, M.; Prado, D.; Quintana, C.; Riina, R.; Rodríguez M.; G.M.; Villela, D.M.; Aquino, A.C.M M.; Arroyo, L.; Bezerra, C.; Tadeu Brunello, A.; Brienen, R.J.W.; Cardoso, D.; Chao, K.-J.; Cotta Coutinho, Í.A.; Cunha, J.; Domingues, T.; do Espírito Santo, M.M.; Feldpausch, T.R.; Ferreira Fernandes, M.; Goodwin, Z.A.; Jiménez, E.M.; Levesley, A.; Lopez-Toledo, L.; Marimon, B.; Miatto, R.C.; Mizushima, M.; Monteagudo, A.; Beserra de Moura, M.S.; Murakami, A.; Neves, D.; Nicora Chequín, R.; de Sousa Oliveira, T.C.; de Oliveira, E.A.; de Queiroz, L.P.; Pilon, A.; Marques Ramos, D.; Reynel, C.; Rodrigues, P.M.S.; Santos, R.; Särkinen, T.; da Silva, V.F.; Souza, R.M.S.; Vasquez, R.; Veenendaal, E. 2021. Expanding tropical forest monitoring into Dry Forests: The DRYFLOR protocol for permanent plots. Plants People Planet 3(3):295-300. 

  • Riina, R., Villaverde, T., Rincón-Barrado, M., Molero, J., Sanmartín, I. 2021. More than one sweet tabaiba: Disentangling the systematics of the succulent dendroid shrub Euphorbia balsamifera. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 59(3):490-503. 

  • Rincón-Barrado, M.; Olsson, S.; Villaverde, T.; Moncalvillo, B.; Pokorny, L.; Forrest, A.; Riina, R.; Sanmartín, I. 2021. Ecological and geological processes impacting speciation modes drive the formation of wide-range disjunctions within tribe Putorieae (Rubiaceae). Journal of Systematics and Evolution [in press]. 

  • Vitarelli, N.C.; Somavilla, N.; Ferrari, F.B.; Silva, M.R.E.; Soares, E.M.; Silva, O.L.M.D.; Riina, R. 2021. The Amazonian Croton mollis (Euphorbiaceae): morphology and leaf anatomy help to understand its preference for the extreme igapó habitat. Flora 281:151878. 

  • Marques Da Silva, O.L.; Antar, G.M.; Riina, R.; Cordeiro, I. 2020. Euphorbia adenoplicata, a New Species of Euphorbia sect. Crossadenia from Brazil. Systematic Botany 45(1):131-136. 

  • Mateo-Ramírez L.; Riina R. 2020. Croton calcareus: A new species of dragon’s blood (euphorbiaceae) from dry forest in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. European Journal of Taxonomy 657:1-14. 

  • Chen, S.-C.; Pahlevani, A.H.; Malíková, L.; Riina, R.; Thomson, F.J.; Giladi, I. 2019. Trade-off or coordination? Correlations between ballochorous and myrmecochorous phases of diplochory. Functional Ecology 33(8):1469-1479. 

  • Da Silva, O.L.M.; Dias, P.; Riina, R.; Cordeiro, I. 2019. Redelimitation of astraea lobata (Euphorbiaceae) and other taxonomic rearrangements in astraea. Phytotaxa 404(4):127-136. 

  • de Farias, S.Q.; Medeiros, D.; Riina, R. 2019. A new species of dragon's blood Croton (Euphorbiaceae) from Serra dos órgãos (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). PhytoKeys 126:13-24. 

  • Riina, R.; Berry, P.E.; Hube, O.; Michelangeli, F.A. 2019. Vascular Plants and Bryophytes In: V. Rull, T. Vegas-Vilarrúbia, O. Huber & J, Señaris (eds.). Biodiversity of Pantepui: The Pristine Lost World of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands. Academic Press. pp. 121-147

  • Feio, A.C.; Meira, R.M.S.A.; Riina, R. 2018. Leaf anatomical features and their implications for the systematics of dragon's blood, Croton section Cyclostigma (Euphorbiaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 187(4):614-632. 

  • Feio, A.C.; Ore-Rengifo, M.I.; Berry, P.E.; Riina R. 2018. Four New Species of Dragon's Blood Croton (Euphorbiaceae) from South America. Systematic Botany 43(1):212-220. 

  • Martín-Torrijos, L.; Gelder, S.R.; Diéguez-Uribeondo, J. 2018. A new kid in town: First case of an alien worm, Xironogiton victoriensis (Annelida: Clitellata) on a native European freshwater crayfish. Aquaculture 496:39-42. 

  • Riina, R.; Berry, P.E.; Secco, R.D.S.; Meier, W.; Caruzo, M.B.R. 2018. Reassessment of Croton sect. Cleodora (Euphorbiaceae) points to the Amazon Basin as its main center of diversity. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 103(3):330-349. 

  • Villaverde, T.; Pokorny, L.; Olsson, S.; Rincón-Barrado, M.; Johnson, M.G.; Gardner, E.M.; Wickett, N.J.; Molero, J.; Riina, R.; Sanmartín, I. 2018. Bridging the micro- and macroevolutionary levels in phylogenomics: Hyb-Seq solves relationships from populations to species and above. New Phytologist 220:636-650. 

  • Arévalo, R.; van Ee, B.W.; Riina, R.; Berry, P.E.; Wiedenhoeft, A.C. 2017. Force of habit: shrubs, trees and contingent evolution of wood anatomical diversity using Croton (Euphorbiaceae) as a model system. Annals of Botany 119(4):563-579.

  • Cardoso, D.; Särkinen, T.; Alexander, S.; Amorim, A.M.; Bittrich, V.; Celis, M.; Daly, D.C.; Fiaschi, P.; Funk, V.A.; Giacomin, L.L.; Goldenberg, R.; Heiden, G.; Iganci, J.; Kelloff, C.L.; Knapp, S.; Cavalcante de Lima, H.; Machado, A.F.P.; dos Santos, R.M.; Mello-Silva, R.; Michelangeli, F.A.; Mitchell, J.; Moonlight, P.; Rodrigues de Moraes, P.L.; Mori, S.A.; Nunes, T.S.; Pennington, T.D.; Pirani, J.R.; Prance, G.T.; Paganucci de Queiroz, L.; Rapini, A.; Riina, R.; Rincon, C.A.V.; Roque, N.; Shimizu, G.; Sobral, M.; Stehmann, J.R.; Stevens, W.D.; Taylor, C.M.; Trovó, M.; van den Berg, C.; van der Werff, H.; Viana, P.L.; Zartman, C.E.; Forzza, R.C. 2017. Amazon plant diversity revealed by a taxonomically verified species list. PNAS 114(40):10695-10700.

  • dos Santos, R.F.; Riina, R.; Caruzo, M.B.R. 2017. Diversity of arborescent lineages of Crotoneae (Euphorbiaceae) in the Brazilian Atlantic Rain Forest. Plant Systematics and Evolution 303(10):1467-1497.

  • Dryflor, Pennington, R.T.; Banda-R, K.; Delgado-Salinas, A.; Dexter, K.G.; Linares-Palomino, R.; Olivera-Filho, A.; Prado, D.; Quintana, C.; Riina, R. 2017. Forest conservation: Humans' handprints-Response. Science 355(6324):467. 

  • DRYFLOR; Banda-R, K.; Delgado-Salinas, A.; Dexter, K.G.; Galetti, L.; Linares-Palomino, R.; Maturo, H.M.; Mogni, V.; Oakley, L.; Olivera-Filho, A.; Prado, D.; Quintana, C.; Riina, R.; Särkinen, T. 2017. Forest conservation: Remember Gran Chaco - Response. Science 355(6324):465-466.

  • DRYFLOR; Banda-R, K.; Delgado-Salinas, A.; Dexter, K.G.; Linares-Palomino, R.; Olivera-Filho, A.; Prado, D.; Quintana, C.; Riina, R. 2017. Forest conservation: Humans' handprints - Response. Science 355(6324):467.

  • Nieto Feliner, G.; Álvarez, I.; Fuertes-Aguilar, J.; Heuertz, M.; Marques, I.; Moharrek, F.; Piñeiro, R.; Riina, R.; Rosselló, J.A.; Soltis, P.S.; Villa-Machío, I. 2017. Is homoploid hybrid speciation that rare? An empiricist’s view. Heredity 118:513-516. 

  • Pereira, A.D.P.N.; Riina, R.; Caruzo, M.B.R. 2017. A new species of Croton section Lamprocroton (Euphorbiaceae) from Southern Brazil. Systematic Botany. 42(4):830-834. 

  • Pereira, A.D.P.N.; Riina, R.; Caruzo, M.B.R. 2017. Rediscovery and sectional placement of Croton ichthygaster (Euphorbiaceae), a rare species from Southern Brazil. Phytotaxa 309(1):79-84.

  • Banda,K.R.; Delgado-Salinas,A.; Dexter,K.G.; Linares-Palomino,R.; Oliveira-Filho,A.; Prado,D.; Pullan,M.; Quintana,C.; Riina,R.;Rodríguez,G.M.; Weintritt,J.; Acevedo-Rodríguez,P.; Adarve,J.l, Álvarez,E.; Aranguren,A.B.; Arteaga,J.C.;Aymard,G.; Castaño,A.; Ceballos-Mago,N.; Cogollo,Á.; Cuadros,H.; Delgado,F.; Devia,W.;Dueñas,H.; Fajardo,L.; Fernández,Á.; Fernández,M.Á.;Franklin,J.; Freid,E.H.; Galetti,L.A.; Gonto,R.; González,R.M.;Graveson,R.; Helmer,E.H.; Idárraga,Á.; López,R.;Marcano-Vega,H.; Martínez,O.G.; Maturo,H.M.; McDonald,M.; McLaren,K.;Melo,O.; Mijares,F.; Mogni,V.; Molina,D.; Moreno,N.D.P.; Nassar,J.M.; Neves,D.M.; Oakley,L.J.;Oatham,M.; Olvera-Luna,A.R.; Pezzini,F.F.; Dominguez,O.J.R.; Ríos,M.E.; Rivera,O.; Rodríguez,N.; Rojas,A.; Särkinen,T.; Sánchez,R.; Smith,M.; Vargas,C.; Villanueva,B.; Pennington,R.T. 2016. Plant diversity patterns in neotropical dry forests and their conservation implications. Science 353(6306):1383-1387.

  • Caruzo, M.B.R.; Dos Santos, R.F.; Feio, A.C.; Meira, R.M.S.A.; Riina, R. 2016. Redefinition of Croton macrobothrys (Euphorbiaceae), a tree species from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, with the description of a new subspecies. Phytotaxa 273(1):51-58.

  • Feio A.C.; Riina R.; Meira R.M.S.A. 2016. Secretory structures in leaves and flowers of two dragon's blood croton (Euphorbiaceae): New evidence and interpretations. International Journal of Plant Sciences 177(6):511-522.

  • Vitarelli N.C.; Riina R.; Cassino M.F.; Meira R.M.S.A. 2016. Trichome-like emergences in Croton of Brazilian highland rock outcrops: Evidences for atmospheric water uptake. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 22.23-35.

  • Barberá, P.; Riina, R.; Velayos, M. 2015. A new species of Grossera (Euphorbiaceae) from Equatorial Guinea. Phytotaxa  221:175-180.

  • Luján, M.; León, Y.; Riina, R. 2015. Synopsis of Croton (Euphobiaceae) in the Andes of Mérida, Venezuela. Caldasia 37:73-90.

  • Pokorny, L.; Riina, R.; Mairal, M.; Meseguer, A.S.; Culshaw, V.; Cendoya, J.; Serrano, M.; Carbajal, R.; Ortiz, S.; Heuertz, M.; Sanmartín, I. 2015. Living on the edge: Timing of Rand Flora disjunctions congruent with ongoing aridification in Africa. Frontiers in Genetics 6:e54.

  • Riina, R.; Cumbicus, N.; Feio, A.C.; Cerón, C.E.; Meira, R.M.S.A.; Berry, P.E. 2015. A new species of dragon's blood Croton (Euphorbiaceae) from South America with singular inflorescences. Webbia 70:187-192. 

  • Pahlevani, A.H.; Riina, R. 2014. Synopsis of Euphorbia subgen. Esula sect. Helioscopia (Euphorbiaceae) in Iran with the description of Euphorbia mazandaranica sp. nov. Nord. J. Bot. 32(3):257-278.

  • Peirson, J.; Riina, R.;Mayfield,  M.H.;Ferguson, C.J.; Urbatsch, L.E.; Berry, V. 2014. Phylogeny and taxonomy of the New World leafy spurges, Euphorbia section Tithymalus (Euphorbiaceae). Bot. J. Linnean Soc. 175():191-228.

  • Riina, R.; Carneiro-Torres, D.S.; Peirson, J.A.; Berry, P.E.; Cordeiro, I. 2014. Further support for the crotoneae phylogeny: A new species of Brasiliocroton (Euphorbiaceae) based on morphological, geographical, and molecular evidence. Syst. Bot. 39(1):227-234.

  • Riina, R.; Vigo, M.A.; Cerón, C.E. 2014. Croton condorensis: An enigmatic new species of Euphorbiaceae from southern Ecuador. Phytotaxa 164(2):154-158.


  • Dorsey, B.L.; Haevermans, T.; Aubriot, X.; Morawetz, J.J.; Riina, R.; Steinmann, V.; Berry, P.E. 2013. Phylogenetics, Morphological Evolution, and Classification of Euphorbia subg. Euphorbia. Taxon 62: 291-315.

  • Riina, R.; Peirson, J.A.; Geltman, D.V.; Molero, J.; Frajman, B.; Pahlevani, A.; Barres, L.; Morawetz, J.J.; Salmaki, Y.; Zarre, S.; Kryukov, A.; Bruyns, P.V.; Berry. P.E. 2013. A worldwide molecular phylogeny and classification of the leafy spurges, Euphorbia subg. Esula (Euphorbiaceae). Taxon 62: 316-342.

  • Chávez, K.; Compagnone, R.S.; Riina, R.; Briceño, A.; González, T.; Squitieri, E.; Landaeta, C.; Soscún, H.; Suárez, A.I. 2013. Crotofolane diterpenoids from Croton caracasanus. Natural product communications 8:1679-1682.
  • Carneiro-Torres, D.; Cordeiro, I.; Giulietti, A.M.; Riina, R. 2012. Euphorbia flaviana, a new species from the inselbergs of Bahia (Brazil) and lectotypification of E. crossadenia. Syst. Bot. 37: 688-693.

  • Grande, J.R.; Kallunki, J.K.; Arbo, M.M.; Berry, P.E.; Huber, O.; Riina, R. 2012. Botanical novelties from Sierra de Maigualida, southern Venezuela II. Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid 69: 7-19.

  • Horn, J.W.; Van Ee, B.W.; Morawetz, J.J.; Riina, R.; Steinmann, V.W.; Berry, P.E.; Wurdack, K.J. 2012. Phylogenetics and the evolution of major structural characters in the giant genus Euphorbia L. (Euphorbiaceae). Mol. Phyl. Evol. 63: 305-326.

  • Riina, R. and Berry, Berry, P.E. 2011-2012. Euphorbia Planetary Biodiversity Inventory database. http://app.tolkin.org/projects/72/taxa

  • Yang, Y.; Riina, R.; Morawetz, J.J.; Haevermans, T.; Aubriot, X.; Berry, P.E. 2012. Molecular phylogenetics and classification of Euphorbia subgenus Chamaesyce (Euphorbiaceae). Taxon 61:  764-789.

  • Carneiro-Torres, D.; Cordeiro, I.; Giulietti, A.M.; Berry, P.E.; Riina, R. 2011. Three new species of Croton (Euphorbiaceae s.s.) from the Brazilian Caatinga. Brittonia 63: 122-132.

  • Caruzo, M.B.R.; van Ee, B.W.; Cordeiro, I.; Berry, P.E.; Riina, R. 2011. Molecular phylogenetics and character evolution of the "sacaca" clade: Novel relationships of Croton section Cleodora (Euphorbiaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 60: 193-206.

  • Geltman, D.; Berry, P.E.; Riina, R.; Peirson, J. 2011. Typification and synonymy of the species of Euphorbia subgenus Esula native to the United States and Canada. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 5: 143-151.

  • Givnish, T.J.; Barfuss, M.H.J. ; Van Ee, B.; Riina, R.; Schulte, K.; Horres, R.; Gonsiska, P.A.; Jabaily, R.S.; D.M. Crayn, J.A.C. Smith, K. Winter, G.K. Brown, T.M. Evans, B.K. Holst, H. Luther, W. Till, G. Zizka, P.E. Berry, and K.J. Sytsma. 2011. Phylogeny and historical biogeography of Bromeliaceae: insights from an 8-locus plastid phylogeny. Amer. J. Bot. 98: 872-895.

  • Pahlevani, A.; Geltman, D.; Riina, R. 2011. Taxonomic revision of Euphorbia subsect. Myrsiniteae Boiss. for the flora of Iran. Ann. Bot. Fennici 48: 483-493.

  • Pahlevani, A.; Riina, R. 2011. A synopsis of Euphorbia Subgen. Chamaesyce Raf. (Euphorbiaceae) in Iran. Ann. Bot. Fennici 48: 304-316.

  • Riina, R.; Berry, P.E. 2011. Croton maasii (Euphorbiaceae), a new species from the western Amazon region. Blumea 56: 146-148.

  • Riina, R.; Cerón, C.; Tye, A. 2011.  Euphorbiaceae. Pp. 317-325 in: León-Yánez, S., R. Valencia, N. Pitman, L. Endara, C. Ulloa & H. Navarrete (eds.). Libro rojo de las plantas endémicas del Ecuador, 2da edición. Publicaciones del Herbario QCA, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito.

  • Van Ee, B.W.; Riina, R.; Berry. 2011, P.E 2011. A revised synopsis and molecular phylogeny of the New World sections of Croton (Euphorbiaceae). Taxon 60: 791-823.

  • Riina, R.; Berry, Berry, P.E. 2010. Two new South American species of Croton (Euphorbiaceae) and their phylogenetic affinities. Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid 67 (1): 23-27.

  • Riina, R.; Berry, P.E.; Amorim, A.; Cordeiro, I. 2010. Croton thomasii Riina & P.E. Berry (Euphorbiaceae), a new species from the Atlantic Forest in the State of Bahia (Brazil) and typification of Croton sapiifolius Müll.Arg. Candollea 65: 101-107.

  • Riina, R.; Van Ee, B.; Wiedenhoeft, A.C.; Cardozo, A.; Berry, P.E. 2010. Sectional rearrangement of arborescent clades of Croton (Euphorbiaceae) in South America: evolution of arillate seeds and a new species, Croton domatifer. Taxon 59(4): 1147-1160.

  • Riina, R.; Berry, P.E.; Van Ee, B.W. 2009. Molecular phylogenetics of the dragon s blood Croton section Cyclostigma (Euphorbiaceae): A polyphyletic assemblage unraveled. Syst. Bot. 34(2): 360-374.

  • Wiedenhoeft, A.C.; Riina, R.; Berry, P.E.  2009. "Ray-intrusive" laticifers in species of Croton section Cyclostigma (Euphorbiaceae).  IAWA Journal  30(2): 135-148.

  • Van Ee, B.W.; Berry, P.E.; Riina, R.; Gutiérrez Amaro, J.E. 2008. Molecular Phylogenetics and Biogeography of the Caribbean-centered Croton subgenus Moacroton (Euphorbiaceae s.s.). Bot. Rev. 74: 132-165.

  • Riina, R.; Berry, P.E.; Cornejo, X. 2007. A new species of sangre de drago (Croton sect. Cyclostigma, Euphorbiaceae) from coastal Ecuador. Brittonia 59 (1): 97-101.

  • Riina, R.; Duno, R.; Aymard, G.; Fernández, A.; Huber, O. 2007. Diversidad florística de los Llanos de Venezuela. In: Catálogo de la Flora de los Llanos de Venezuela (R. Duno, G. Aymard y O. Huber, eds.), pp. 107-123. Fundación Polar-Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela, Caracas.

  • Huber , O.; Duno, R.; Aymard, G.; Riina, R.  2006. Flora and vegetation of the Venezuelan Llanos: A Review. In: Neotropical savannas and dry forests: diversity, biogeography, and conservation (Pennington, R.T., G.P. Lewis, and J.A.  Ratter, eds.). The Systematics Association Special Volume Series 69: 95-120. Taylor & Francis Group.

  • Berry, P.E.; Hipp, A.; Wurdack, K.J.; Van Ee, B.;Riina, R.  2005. Molecular phylogenetics of the giant genus Croton and tribe Crotoneae (euphorbiaceae sensu stricto) using ITS and trnL-F DNA sequence data. American Journal of Botany 92(9): 1520-1534.

  • Berry, P.E.; Riina, R.  2005. Insights into the diversity of the Pantepui flora and the biogeographic complexity of the Guayana Shield. In: Plant Diversity and Complexity Patterns: Local, Regional and Global Dimensions (I. Friis and H. Baslev, eds.). Biol. Skr. 55: 145-167.

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