The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Napoleonaeaceae P. Beauv.


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IncludingBelvisieae (Belvisiaceae) R.Br.

Habit and leaf form. Glabrous trees, or shrubs. Plants non-succulent. Leaves alternate; simple. Lamina dissected, or entire; when dissected, obscurely toothed; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins entire, or serrate, or dentate.

General anatomy. Plants with silica bodies (?).

Leaf anatomy. Lamina without secretory cavities. The mesophyll without etherial oil cells; containing calcium oxalate crystals. The mesophyll crystals solitary-prismatic. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Napoleonaea).

Stem anatomy. Secretory cavities absent. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. Cortical bundles present (at least in Napoleonaea). Internal phloem absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. ‘Included’ phloem absent. Xylem without tracheids; without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres. Vessel end-walls simple. Primary medullary rays wide.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowershermaphrodite. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers usually solitary (axillary); medium-sized (often brightly coloured and showy).

Perianthsepaline (the corolla lacking, but the outer androecial members forming a pseudo-corolla); 3, or 5; 1 whorled. Calyx 3 (Crateranthus), or 5 (Napoleonaea); 1 whorled; polysepalous (when 3, Crateranthus), or gamosepalous (when 5, Napoleonaea); imbricate (when K3), or valvate (when K5).

Androecium50–100 (‘many’). Androecial members maturing centrifugally; free of the perianth; coherent (the filaments connate below); in Napoleonaea 4 whorled (in ‘several series’ in Crateranthus). Androecium including staminodes (these spectacularly configured, the outermost whorl forming a pseudocorolla, the two inner series a corona), or exclusively of fertile stamens (Crateranthus). Staminodes 30–100 (? — many); external to the fertile stamens; petaloid and non-petaloid (those of the outermost series being joined to form a many-nerved and many-toothed, plicate pseudo-corolla, those of the second series more or less linear and free or only slightly united, those of the third series basally spurred and united to form a 20–40-lobed cup, with apically incurved lobes). Stamens 5–30 (? — to 20 in Napoleonae, these and staminodes constituting the innermost of the four androecial whorls); polystemonous. Anthers extrorse. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate (to colporoidate); 3-celled.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled, or 5 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled, or 5 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious, or eu-syncarpous (?); inferior. Ovary 3 locular, or 5 locular. Epigynous disk present (intrastaminal, 10-glanded in Napoleonaea), or absent (? — no intrastaminal disk in Crateranthus). Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical; short and apically expanded in Napoleonaea, long-filiform in Crateranthus. Stigmas wet type; non-papillate; Group IV type. Placentation axile. Ovules 2–50 per locule (to ‘many’); 2–4 seriate; anatropous; embryology not recorded.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry (large). Seeds non-endospermic. Cotyledons 2; large, thick.

Physiology, biochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Iridoids not detected. Proanthocyanidins absent. Saponins/sapogenins present.

Geography, cytology. Paleotropical. Tropical. West Africa. X = 16.

Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli (presumed, with reference to Lecythidaceae). Dahlgren’s Superorder Theiflorae; Theales. Cronquist’s Subclass Dilleniidae; Lecythidales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; Order Ericales (as a synonym of Lecythidaceae).

Species 18. Genera 2; Crateranthus, Napoleonaea.

General remarks. This description refers mainly to Napoleonaea, and is fairly inadequate. Morton et al. (1998) presented this group as subfamily Napoleonaeoideae of Lecythidaceae, based on an assessment ‘using both molecular and morphological data’.


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