The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Sapotaceae Juss.


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IncludingAchraceae Roberty, Achradaceae von Vest, Bumeliaceae Barnh.Excluding Sarcospermataceae

Habit and leaf form. Trees and shrubs;laticiferous. Mesophytic. Leaves evergreen; alternate; spiral; leathery; petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Lamina entire; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate (rarely), or exstipulate. Lamina margins entire. Domatia occurring in the family; manifested as pits.

General anatomy. Plants with laticifers (articulated). Plants with ‘crystal sand’, or without ‘crystal sand’.

Leaf anatomy. Mucilaginous epidermis present, or absent. Stomata present; anomocytic (usually), or paracytic.

Lamina dorsiventral (usually), or centric. The mesophyll with sclerencymatous idioblasts (commonly), or without sclerenchymatous idioblasts. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Chrysophyllum, Pouteria).

Stem anatomy. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. Nodes tri-lacunar (usually), or unilacunar. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. Xylem with fibre tracheids, or without fibre tracheids (mostly); with libriform fibres, or without libriform fibres; with vessels. Vessel end-walls simple. Vessels without vestured pits. Wood parenchyma typically apotracheal.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes, or in panicles. The ultimate inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences axillary (sometimes on old stems); cymose bunches. Flowers bracteolate; small (often), or medium-sized; regular (usually), or somewhat irregular to very irregular; cyclic; tetracyclic to polycyclic. Free hypanthium absent.

Perianthwith distinct calyx and corolla; 6–16(–20); 2 whorled, or 3 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 4, or 5, or 6, or 8; 1 whorled (then 5), or 2 whorled (then 2+2, 3+3 or 4+4); polysepalous; when one whorled, imbricate. Corolla 3–6, or 8, or 10; 1 whorled, or 2 whorled (and sometimes ostensibly 2-whorled, through the lobes of the single whorl bearing dorsal appendages like themselves); appendiculate (with dorsal appendages on the lobes), or not appendiculate; gamopetalous; imbricate.

Androecium 4–15. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla); free of one another; 1–3 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens to including staminodes (the outer, antesepalous whorl when present often staminodal). Staminodes 2, or 3, or 4, or 5; when present, external to the fertile stamens; petaloid, or non-petaloid. Stamens 4–15; isomerous with the perianth, or diplostemonous, or triplostemonous; alternisepalous, or oppositisepalous; opposite the corolla members, or both alternating with and opposite the corolla members. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; commonly extrorse; tetrasporangiate. Pollen grains aperturate; 3–4(–6) aperturate; colporate; 2-celled (Calocarpum), or 3-celled (Bumelia, Dipholis).

Gynoecium (2–)4–14(–30) carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth, or increased in number relative to the perianth (commonly double the number of one staminal whorl). The pistil (2–)4–14(–30) celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary (2–)4–14(–30) locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; attenuate from the ovary; apical. Stigmas 1; dry type; papillate; Group II type. Placentation axile, or axile to basal. Ovules 1 per locule;ascending; hemianatropous to anatropous; unitegmic; tenuinucellate. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells not formed (the three nuclei soon degenerating). Synergids hooked. Endosperm formation nuclear.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry (although the flesh is ’sometimes sclerenchymatous near the outside‘). Seeds endospermic, or non-endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds with amyloid, or without amyloid. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2 (large, thin, flat). Embryo achlorophyllous (4/4).

Seedling.Germination phanerocotylar, or cryptocotylar.

Physiology, biochemistry. Cyanogenic, or not cyanogenic. Cynogenic constituents phenylalanine-derived. Alkaloids present, or absent. Iridoids not detected. Proanthocyanidins present, or absent (Pouteria); when present, delphinidin, or cyanidin and delphinidin. Flavonols present; kaempferol, or quercetin and myricetin, or kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin. Ellagic acid absent (5 genera, 5 species). Saponins/sapogenins present, or absent. Aluminium accumulation not found. Sugars transported as sucrose (in 5 genera).

Geography, cytology. Tropical. Pantropical. X = 7, 9–13.

Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Primuliflorae; Ebenales. Cronquist’s Subclass Dilleniidae; Ebenales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; Order Ericales.

Species 800. Genera about 55 (35–75, with problems over generic definition); Achras (= Manilkara), Argania, Aubregrinia, Aulandra, Autranella,Baillonella, Breviea, Bumelia, Burckella, Butyrospermum,Calocarpum, Capurodendron, Chromolucuma, Chrysophyllum,Delpydora, Diploknema, Dipholis, Diploon, Eberhardtia,Ecclinusa, Elaeoluma, Englerophytum, Faucherea, Gluema,Inhambanella, Isonandra, Labourdonnaisia, Labramia,Lecomtedoxa, Leptostylis, Letestua, Madhuca, Manilkara,Micropholis, Mimusops, Neohemsleya, Neolemonniera, Nesoluma,Niemeyera, Northia, Omphalocarpum, Palaquium, Payena,Pichonia, Pouteria, Pradosia, Pycnandra, Sarcaulus,Sideroxylon, Tieghemella, Tridesmostemon, Tsebona, Vitellaria,Vitellariopsis, Xantolis.

Economic uses, etc. Edible fruits from Achras sapota (sapodilla, sapota, marmalade plum, chiku), Chrysophyllum cainito (star-apple), Pouteria (abiu, canistel, eggfruit), Sideroxylon australe (Australian native plum).


  • Technical details: Mimusops (Thonner).
  • Technical details: Monotheca.
  • Technical details: Achras = Manilkara, Argania, Sideroxylon.
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