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The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Melanophyllaceae Takht.

                        

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~Toricelliaceae, Cornaceae sensu lato

Habit and leaf form. Small trees, or shrubs (the foliage blackening on drying).Leaves alternate; spiral; long petiolate; more or less sheathing. Leaf sheaths not tubular; with free margins. Leaves simple. Lamina entire. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins entire, or serrate, or dentate.

Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; anomocytic.

Adaxial hypodermis absent. Lamina dorsiventral; without secretory cavities.

Stem anatomy. Secretory cavities absent. Cortical bundles absent. Medullary bundles absent. Internal phloem absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. ‘Included’ phloem absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Unisexual flowersabsent. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence unit racemose. Inflorescences racemes and (according to Airy Shaw 1973) panicles. Flowers mostly (bi-) bracteate; regular; 5 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous (minute). Corolla 5; 1 whorled; polypetalous; imbricate; regular. Petals sessile (ovate or oblong, reflexed).

Androecium 5. Androecial members free of the perianth; all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous; alternating with the corolla members; shortly filantherous (the filaments slender). Anthers dorsifixed, or basifixed (elongate-oblong); dehiscing via longitudinal slits. Pollen mostly shed in aggregates; in tetrads. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 2–3 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 2–3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious; inferior. Ovary 2–3 locular. Epigynous disk absent (or obsolete). Gynoecium stylate. Styles 2–3 (erect or recurved); free. Stigmas 2–3 (linear or punctiform). Placentation axile to apical, or apical (?). Ovules 1 per locule; pendulous; apotropous (the micropyle turned inwards); with dorsal raphe; anatropous.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a drupe ((2–)3 locular, with one fertile dorsal and two sterile ventral locules, the septa marked by external grooves).

Geography, cytology. Paleotropical. Tropical. Madagascar.

Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Araliiflorae (re-assigned from Corniflorae); Araliales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Cornales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; campanulid; Order Apiales (as synonym of Torricelliaceae?).

Species 8. Genera 1; only genus, Melanophylla.

General remarks. Assignment to Araliiflorae is supported by rbcL sequence data.

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