The families of flowering plants.
Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs (with stellate hairs or scales, simple hairs, or glabrous). Plantsnon-succulent. Leaves alternate (usually), or opposite (very rarely); shortly petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Lamina entire. Leaves stipulate to exstipulate (the stipules minute or obsolete). Lamina margins entire.
Leaf anatomy. Mucilaginous epidermis present.
Lamina 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. Wood parenchyma abundant, apotracheal.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowersfunctionally male and functionally female, or functionally male, or functionally female. Plants monoecious, or dioecious. Gynoecium of male flowers pistillodial, or vestigial, or absent.
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in heads. Inflorescences 3–4 flowered, involucrate, unisexual or bisexual capitula; with involucral bracts (1–2 small, free outer bracts, and two larger, variously connate, spathaceous inner bracts); more or less spatheate (by the inner bracts). Flowers cyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk absent.
Perianthsepaline (sometimes, in male flowers), or absent (sometimes in male flowers, and in female flowers); of male flowers, when preent, 4–6; 1 whorled. Calyx of male flowers, when present, 4–6; 1 whorled; gamosepalous; entire to lobulate, or blunt-lobed, or toothed; cupuliform; valvate.
Androecium in male flowers, 2–5. Androecial members free of the perianth; coherent; 1 adelphous (united below into a column). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 2–5; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth to isomerous with the perianth (when the perianth present); erect in bud. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse, or latrorse.
Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 3 locular. Gynoecium shortly stylate, or non-stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1, or 3; entire or 3 lobed; when entire peltate. Placentation apical. Ovules 1 per locule; pendulous; arillate (the seed carunculate).
Fruit somewhat fleshy, or non-fleshy; tardily dehiscent; a capsule (drupiform, with woody endocarp and fleshy or spongy mesocarp, the smooth epicarp wrinkled when dry). Capsules with the valves splitting along the midline but not springing back elastically, usually remaining attached basally to the pedicel, the slender central column splitting longitudinally into three. Seeds endospermic (the endosperm fleshy). Cotyledons 2 (broad, flat). Embryo straight. Testa smooth (shining).
Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Tropical. Mexico to tropical South America, West Indies.
Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Malviflorae; Euphorbiales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae (by inference); Euphorbiales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Malpighiales.
Species 40. Genera 1; only genus, Pera.