The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Uvulariaceae Kunth


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IncludingCompsoaceae Horan., Tricyrtidaceae

Habit and leaf form. Herbs, or shrubs. ‘Normal’ plants. Perennial; with neither basal nor terminal aggregations of leaves; rhizomatous. Self supporting. Mesophytic.Leaves alternate; spiral, or distichous; petiolate, or subsessile, or sessile; non-sheathing (but sometimes amplexicaul); simple. Lamina entire; lanceolate, or ovate; palmately veined (palmate-parallel); cross-venulate, or without cross-venules; cordate, or attenuate at the base, or cuneate at the base. Lamina margins entire.

Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; mainly confined to one surface.

Lamina dorsiventral. The mesophyll containing calcium oxalate crystals, or without calcium oxalate crystals (Tricyrtis). The mesophyll crystals solitary-prismatic (cuboid). Vessels absent.

Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent. Xylem with vessels, or without vessels. Vessel end-walls scalariform.

Root anatomy. Root xylem with vessels; vessel end-walls scalariform.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowershermaphrodite. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present. Nectar secretion from the perianth.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowersaggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in panicles, in racemes, and in spikes. The ultimate inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences generally few-flowered panicles or thyrses, or spikes with paired or solitary axillary flowers. Flowers small, or medium-sized; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube absent.

Perianthof ‘tepals’; 6; free; 2 whorled (3+3); isomerous; petaloid; without spots, or spotted (e.g. Tricyrtis); similar in the two whorls, or different in the two whorls (the outer tepals, or all of them, often with a nectariferous spur); white, or yellow, or white and purple, or yellow and purple (i.e. sometimes purple-spotted).

Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another, or coherent; if coherent 1 adelphous (the filaments cohering basally); 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; diplostemonous. Anthers basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse, or introrse. The endothecial thickenings spiral. Pollen grains aperturate; 1 aperturate; sulcate; 2-celled.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled.Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious (style tribrachiate to various extents); superior. Ovary 3 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1, or 3; the three partially joined; apical. Stigmas when separate, 3; when joined into one, 3 lobed; wet type, or dry type. Placentation axile. Ovules 5–50 per locule (?); arillate, or non-arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; tenuinucellate. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type (usually), or Clintonia-type (rarely). Endosperm formation nuclear.

Fruit fleshy, or non-fleshy; dehiscent, or indehiscent; a capsule (dry or fleshy), or a berry. Capsules septicidal, or loculicidal. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Embryo rudimentary at the time of seed release to weakly differentiated, or well differentiated. Testa seemingly nearly always without phytomelan; brown (mostly), or yellow (or ‘pallid', but perhaps black in Uvularia — Bentham and Hooker, 1880!).

Seedling.Hypocotyl internode present (short). Seedling collar not conspicuous. Cotyledon hyperphyll elongated; assimilatory; dorsiventrally flattened. Coleoptile absent. First leaf dorsiventral.

Physiology, biochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Proanthocyanidins present; cyanidin. Flavonols present; kaempferol and quercetin. Ellagic acid absent.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic, Paleotropical, and Australian. Represented in eastern Asia, North America, Malaysia, New Guinea and Australia, but mainly Northern Hemisphere. X = 13, 14, 16.

Taxonomy.Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Liliiflorae; Liliales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; non-commelinid Monocot; Order Liliales (as a synonym of Liliaceae).

Species about 50. Genera about 10; Clintonia, Disporum, Kreysigia,Kuntheria, Medeola(?), Prosartes, Schelhammera, Scoliopus(?),Streptopus, Tricyrtis, Tripladenia, Uvularia.


  • Technical details: Tricyrtis.
  • Uvularia (Chittenden).
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