The families of flowering plants.
Habit and leaf form. Herbs, or shrubs (subshrubs). Plants more or less succulent. Self supporting, or epiphytic (commonly). Mesophytic. Leaves alternate, or opposite, or whorled; when alternate, spiral; more or less fleshy; sheathing. Leaf sheaths not tubular; with free margins. Leaves gland-dotted, or not gland-dotted; aromatic; simple. Lamina entire; pinnately veined, or palmately veined (or pinnate-palmate); cross-venulate. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins entire. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem.
Leaf anatomy. Hydathodes commonly present. Stomata present; anisocytic, or cyclocytic.
Adaxial hypodermis present. Lamina dorsiventral. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Peperomia).
Stem anatomy. Nodes penta-lacunar, or multilacunar (with five or more traces). Primary vascular tissue in two or more rings of bundles, or in scattered bundles. Medullary bundles present. Secondary thickening absent, or developing from a conventional cambial ring, or anomalous (?). Xylem without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres. Sieve-tube plastids S-type.
Reproductive type, pollination. Unisexual flowersabsent. Plants hermaphrodite.
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in spikes (and spadices). Inflorescences terminal, or axillary, or leaf-opposed; with flowers aggregated into spikes or spadices. Flowers bracteate (the bracts succulent); minute to small.
Androecium 2. Androecial members united with the gynoecium (adnate to its base), or free of the gynoecium; all equal; free of one another to coherent; often more or less 1 adelphous (the filaments joined at the base). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 2. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits (via one slit); extrorse; bilocular, or unilocular (by confluence); bisporangiate. Endothecium developing fibrous thickenings. Microsporogenesis simultaneous. Anther wall initially with one middle layer, or initially with more than one middle layer (1–2); of the ‘monocot’ type. Tapetum glandular. Pollen grains aperturate to nonaperturate; when detectably aperturate, 1 aperturate; sulcate; 2-celled.
Gynoecium 1 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium monomerous; of one carpel; superior. Carpel 1 ovuled. Placentation basal. Stigmas dry type; non-papillate; Group II type. Ovules orthotropous; unitegmic; crassinucellate. Embryo-sac development Peperomia-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Endosperm formation cellular. Embryogeny piperad.
Fruit fleshy to non-fleshy. The fruiting carpel indehiscent; drupaceous, or baccate. Gynoecia of adjoining flowers combining to form a multiple fruit, or not forming a multiple fruit. Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds scantily endospermic. Perisperm present (copious). Embryo rudimentary at the time of seed release.
Physiology, biochemistry. Ellagic acid absent (Peperomia). CAM. CAM recorded directly in Peperomia.
Geography, cytology. Temperate to tropical. Pantropical, subtropical and warm temperate. X = 11(?).
Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Nymphaeiflorae; Piperales. Cronquist’s Subclass Magnoliidae; Piperales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Magnolianae; Order Piperales (as a synonym of Piperaceae).
Species 1000. Genera 4; Manekia, Peperomia, Piperanthera, Verhuellia.