The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Malesherbiaceae D. Don


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Habit and leaf form. Half shrubs, or herbs (often very hairy). In dry habitats. Leaves alternate; foetid; simple. Lamina dissected, or entire; when dissected, pinnatifid (sometimes deeply so); pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins when blade entire, crenate, or dentate.

Leaf anatomy. Hairs present; eglandular and glandular (the latter secreting a malodorous substance).

Lamina isobilateral.

Stem anatomy. Cork cambium present; initially deep-seated, or superficial. Internal phloem absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. ‘Included’ phloem absent. Xylem with libriform fibres. Vessel end-walls simple. Primary medullary rays narrow.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; when aggregated, in cymes, or in racemes, or in panicles; regular; 5 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Floral receptacle developing an androphore (this villous and lobed). Free hypanthium present (this long, slender, straight or curved, persistent).

Perianthwith distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; polysepalous; regular; persistent (with the hypanthium); imbricate, or valvate (? — valvate according to all the written descriptions seen, imbricate in the Le Maout & Decaisne diagram). Corolla 5; 1 whorled; appendiculate (with a membranous, denticulate corona); polypetalous; valvate, or with open aestivation (? — the petals small); regular.

Androecium 5. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits. Pollen shed as single grains; without viscin strands. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 3–4 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious; superior. Ovary 1 locular; stipitate. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 3–4; free (filamentous); lateral (below the apex). Stigmas 3–4. Placentation parietal. Ovules in the single cavity 30–100 (‘many’); non-arillate; anatropous.

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent, or indehiscent (?); a capsule; included in the persistent hypanthium. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds reticulate-ridged and pitted. Embryo well differentiated (medium sized). Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight.

Physiology, biochemistry. Cyanogenic. Cynogenic constituents of the gynocardin group (?). Aluminium accumulation not found.

Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Temperate. South Peru, Northern Chile, Western Argentina.

Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Violiflorae; Violales. Cronquist’s Subclass Dilleniidae; Violales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Malpighiales (as a synonym of Passifloraceae?).

Species 27. Genera 1; only genus, Malesherbia.


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