The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Chrysobalanaceae R. Br.


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IncludingHirtellaceae Nak., Hirtellaceae Horan (p.p.)

Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs; leptocaul. Leaves alternate; spiral; petiolate; non-sheathing; not gland-dotted; simple. Lamina entire; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate.

General anatomy. Plants with silica bodies, or without silica bodies.

Leaf anatomy. Epidermis containing silica bodies (often), or without silica bodies. Mucilaginous epidermis present (often), or absent. Stomata paracytic.

Adaxial hypodermis often present. The mesophyll with sclerencymatous idioblasts, or without sclerenchymatous idioblasts. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Moquilea (= Licanea)).

Stem anatomy. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. Cortical bundles absent. Medullary bundles absent. Internal phloem absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. ‘Included’ phloem absent. Xylem with tracheids. Vessel end-walls simple. Primary medullary rays narrow (exclusively or predominantly uniseriate). Wood parenchyma apotracheal.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite, or andromonoecious, or gynomonoecious.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes, or in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary; simple or compound racemes, or (e.g. Parinari) cymes. Flowers small; very irregular. The floral irregularity involving the perianth and involving the androecium. Flowers cyclic, or partially acyclic. The androecium acyclic. Free hypanthium present (tubular).

Perianthwith distinct calyx and corolla, or sepaline (rarely, the corolla absent); (5–)6–10; 1 whorled (rarely), or 2 whorled; isomerous, or anisomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous; unequal but not bilabiate (sometimes saccate at the base); imbricate; with the median member posterior. Corolla when present, 1–5; 1 whorled; polypetalous (inserted at the mouth of the hypanthium tube); imbricate; more or less unequal but not bilabiate. Petals shortly clawed.

Androecium (2–)8–20(–300). Androecial members branched (from trunk bundles?), or unbranched; free of the perianth (but inserted with the corolla at the mouth of the hypanthium); often markedly unequal (those on the side opposite the larger calyx segments often larger); free of one another, or coherent; when coherent 1 adelphous, or 3–20 adelphous (? — connate, or joined into groups). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens, or including staminodes. Stamens (2–)8–30(–300); isomerous with the perianth to polystemonous. Anthers dorsifixed (below the midline); versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; 3(–4) aperturate; colpate, or colporate.

Gynoecium 1–3 carpelled (two members usually more or less reduced, the developed member then simulating G1 and excentrically situated in the hypanthium). The pistil 1–3 celled. Gynoecium monomerous, or syncarpous; of one carpel (at least ostensibly), or synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; superior. Carpel stylate; with a gynobasic style; 2 ovuled (but the one locule is occasionally subdivided, to look like two one-ovulate locules). Placentationbasal. Ovary 1(–3) locular. Locules secondarily divided by ‘false septa’ (sometimes), or without ‘false septa’. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; ‘gynobasic’. Stigmas 1 lobed, or 3 lobed. Placentation basal. Ovules 2 per locule (sometimes one per locellus); ascending; collateral, or over the carpel surface (?).

Fruitfleshy. The fruiting carpel indehiscent; drupaceous (with bony endocarp). Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds non-endospermic. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2 (commonly thickened).

Seedling.Germination cryptocotylar.

Physiology, biochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Alkaloids absent. Iridoids not detected. Proanthocyanidins present; cyanidin, or delphinidin. Flavonols present; kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin, or quercetin and myricetin, or kaempferol and quercetin. Ellagic acid absent (3 genera). Saponins/sapogenins absent. Sugars transported as sucrose (in Licania and Parinari).

Geography, cytology. Mostly tropical, or sub-tropical. Widespread-tropical. X = 10, 11.

Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Rosiflorae; Rosales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Rosales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Malpighiales.

Species 400. Genera 17; Acioa, Atuna, Bafodeya, Chrysobalanus,Coupeia, Dactyladenia, Exellodendron, Grangeria, Hirtella,Hunga, Kostermanthus, Licania, Magnistipula, Maranthes,Neocarya, Parastemon, Parinari.


  • Technical details: Parinarium (Thonner).
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