The families of flowering plants.
Habit and leaf form. Glaucous herbs. Plants succulent, or non-succulent. Perennial; with a basal aggregation of leaves; rhizomatous, or tuberous. Leaves alternate; ‘herbaceous’, or fleshy; compound; pinnate, or bipinnate, or multiply compound (2–3 pinnate). Lamina pinnately veined. Leaves stipulate. Stipules intrapetiolar (on the petiole); caducous.
Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; anomocytic (at least in Leontice).
Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent. Vessel end-walls simple.
Reproductive type, pollination. Plantshermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present. Nectar secretion from the perianth (the corolla often nectariform). Pollination entomophilous.
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes (or compound racemes). The ultimate inflorescence unit racemose. Inflorescences simply or compoundly racemose. Flowers more or less regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic, or polycyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk absent.
Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 9–15; 3–5 whorled; isomerous, or anisomerous. Calyx 3–9 (the inner members often petaloid); 1–3 whorled; polysepalous; imbricate. Corolla 6; 2 whorled; polypetalous (often nectariform); yellow.
Androecium6; exclusively of fertile stamens (unless the nectariferous petals are interpreted as staminodes). Stamens 6; isomerous with the perianth; alternisepalous; opposite the corolla members. Anthers dehiscing by longitudinal valves; extrorse. Endothecium developing fibrous thickenings. Microsporogenesis simultaneous. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colpate.
Gynoecium ostensibly 1 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium monomerous (or pseudomonomerous?); ostensibly of one carpel; superior. Carpel shortly stylate; apically stigmatic (the stigma small or plicate-dilated); 2–8 ovuled. Placentation basal. Ovules ascending; anatropous; bitegmic; pseudocrassinucellate. Outer integument contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Endosperm formation nuclear.
Fruitbladdery, non-fleshy. The fruiting carpel dehiscent (or gaping above, or the walls evanescent), or indehiscent. Seeds endospermic; drupelike, large (often blue). Embryo straight.
Physiology, biochemistry. Cyanogenic. C3. C3 physiology recorded directly in Leontice. Anatomy non-C4 type (Leontice).
Geography, cytology. Holarctic. Temperate. North temperate.
Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Ranunculiflorae; Ranunculales. Cronquist’s Subclass Magnoliidae; Ranunculales. APG 3 core angiosperms; peripheral eudicot; Superorder Ranunculanae; Order Ranunculales (as a synonym of Berberidaceae).
Species 14. Genera 4; Leontice, Bongardia, Caulophyllum, Gymnospermium.