The families of flowering plants.
Habit and leaf form. Shrubs (mostly, or subshrubs), or trees (a few). Leaves opposite, or whorled (rarely spiral); leathery; simple. Lamina entire; lanceolate to ovate; palmately veined to parallel-veined; cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate. Stipules caducous (minute). Lamina margins entire, or dentate (obscurely). Vegetative buds scaly.
Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; paracytic.
Lamina dorsiventral. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells.
Stem anatomy. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. Nodes unilacunar. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. Xylem with libriform fibres (non-septate); with vessels. Vessel end-walls simple. Primary medullary rays wide. Wood partially storied (VP, VPI); parenchyma paratracheal.
Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite, or monoecious, or andromonoecious, or gynomonoecious, or polygamomonoecious (? — ‘polygamous’).
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence unit racemose. Inflorescences terminal. Flowers minute, or small; regular; 5 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Free hypanthium absent.
Perianthwith distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; polysepalous; regular; persistent; imbricate. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; polypetalous (the petals keeled within); valvate; regular; fleshy; persistent; accrescent.
Androecium 10. Androecial members free of the perianth, or free of the perianth and adnate (then the filaments of the antepetalous stamens adnate to the keels of the petals); free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 10; diplostemonous; oppositisepalous; both alternating with and opposite the corolla members. Anthers slightly dorsifixed, or basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; (2–)3(–4) aperturate; shortly colpate, or colporate; 2-celled.
Gynoecium 5(–10) carpelled; apocarpous; eu-apocarpous, or semicarpous (sometimes basally united); superior. Carpel 1 ovuled. Placentation apical. Stigmas dry type; papillate; Group II type. Ovules pendulous; apotropous; with dorsal raphe; non-arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Outer integument not contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing only after one has been fertilized, or fusing simultaneously with the male gamete (?). Antipodal cells formed; 3; not proliferating; uninucleate. Synergids pear-shaped. Endosperm formation nuclear.
Fruit non-fleshy (when divested of the fleshy perianth); an aggregate. The fruiting carpels not coalescing. The fruiting carpel indehiscent; an achene. Fruit enclosed in the fleshy perianth (i.e. enclosed by the accrescent corolla, and the head of fruits forming a pseudo-drupe). Seeds scantily endospermic, or non-endospermic. Endosperm oily. Cotyledons 2 (oily); plano-convex. Embryo straight.
Physiology, biochemistry. Nitrogen-fixing root nodules present. Not cyanogenic. Alkaloids present (one species). Iridoids not detected. Proanthocyanidins absent. Flavonols present; kaempferol and quercetin. Ellagic acid present. Saponins/sapogenins absent. Aluminium accumulation not found. C3. C3 physiology recorded directly in Coriaria.
Geography, cytology. Temperate (warm), or sub-tropical to tropical. Mediterranean, mid-Eastern Eurasia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Central and western South America. X = 10.
Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Violiflorae (reassigned); Violales (? — Gadek et al 1996). Cronquist’s Subclass Magnoliidae; Ranunculales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Cucurbitales.
Species 15. Genera 1; only genus, Coriaria.
Economic uses, etc. A few cultivated ornamentals. Foliage and fruits very poisonous.