The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Vitidaceae Juss.


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AlternativelyAmpelidaceae, Vitaceae

IncludingCissaceae Horan., Pterisantheae (Pterisanthaceae) J.G. Agardh, Sarmentaceae Vent.

Habit and leaf form. Lianas (usually), or shrubs, or herbs (rarely). Plants succulent (erect ‘treelets’), or non-succulent. Climbing (usually), or self supporting; the climbers tendril climbers, or tendril climbers and sucker climbers (usually with tendrils representing modified shoots or inflorescences, the tendrils often bearing suckers). Stem growth conspicuously sympodial (sometimes), or not conspicuously sympodial. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Heterophyllous, or not heterophyllous. Leaves evergreen, or deciduous; alternate, or opposite (the lower, sometimes); distichous (usually), or spiral; petiolate; non-sheathing; gland-dotted; simple (usually), or compound; when compound ternate, or pinnate, or palmate. Lamina when simple dissected (usually), or entire; commonly palmatifid; palmately veined (commonly), or pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate. Stipules intrapetiolar; caducous (often), or persistent. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Domatia occurring in the family (4 genera); manifested as pits, or pockets, or hair tufts.

Leaf anatomy. Leaves with ‘pearl glands’ (commonly, these deciduous), or without ‘pearl glands’. Stomata present; anomocytic.

Lamina dorsiventral, or centric. The mesophyll containing mucilage cells (with or without raphides); containing calcium oxalate crystals. The mesophyll crystals raphides, druses, and solitary-prismatic. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Cissus, Vitis).

Stem anatomy. Cork cambium present; initially deep-seated, or superficial. Nodes tri-lacunar, or penta-lacunar, or multilacunar (7). Internal phloem absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring, or anomalous; occasionally via concentric cambia (Tetrastigma). The secondary phloem stratified into hard (fibrous) and soft (parenchymatous) zones, or not stratified. ‘Included’ phloem present, or absent. Xylem with libriform fibres; with vessels. Vessel end-walls simple. Primary medullary rays wide. Wood partially storied (VP, VPI). Sieve-tube plastids P-type; type I (b).

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite, or monoecious, or dioecious, or polygamomonoecious.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes and in panicles. The ultimate inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences leaf-opposed (usually), or terminal, or axillary (rarely); cymes or panicles, often complex. Flowers bracteolate; small; calyptrate (e.g. Vitis), or not calyptrate; regular; (3–)4–5(–7) merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium present (short), or absent. Hypogynous disk present; intrastaminal; of separate members, or annular.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; (6–)8–10(–14); 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx (3–)4–5(–7); 1 whorled; polysepalous (represented by lobes), or gamosepalous (reduced to a collar); slightly lobulate, or entire, or toothed; regular; persistent; open in bud. Corolla (3–)4–5(–7); 1 whorled; gamopetalous; calyptrate (e.g. Vitis), or not calyptrate; valvate; regular.

Androecium (3–)4–5(–7). Androecial members free of the perianth (inserted at the base of the disk); all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens (3–)4–5(–7); isomerous with the perianth; alternisepalous; opposite the corolla members. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate (usually), or bisporangiate (sometimes). Endothecium developing fibrous thickenings. The initial microspore tetrads tetrahedral, or isobilateral, or decussate. Anther wall initially with more than one middle layer (2); of the ‘dicot’ type. Tapetum glandular. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate; 2-celled (in Ampelopsis and Vitis).

Gynoecium 2 carpelled (nearly always), or 3–6 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth (usually), or isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 2(–6) celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 2(–6) locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1; dry type; non-papillate; Group II type. Placentation axile. Ovules 2 per locule; ascending; apotropous; with ventral raphe; collateral; non-arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Outer integument not contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells formed; 3; not proliferating; ephemeral. Synergids hooked. Endosperm formation nuclear. Embryogeny asterad.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry; 4 seeded. Seeds endospermic.Endosperm ruminate (at least in Vitis); oily. Cotyledons 2. Embryo achlorophyllous (Vitis vinifera); straight.

Seedling.Germination phanerocotylar.

Physiology, biochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Alkaloids present (rarely), or absent. Iridoids not detected. Proanthocyanidins present, or absent; when present, cyanidin and delphinidin. Flavonols present; quercetin. Ellagic acid present (Vitis vinifera), or absent (Parthenocissus, Rhoicissus). Arbutin absent. Saponins/sapogenins absent. Aluminium accumulation not found. Sugars transported as oligosaccharides + sucrose (Parthenocissus, Tetrastigma). C3 and CAM. C3 physiology recorded directly in Parthenocissus, Vitis. CAM recorded directly in Cissus, Cyphostemma.

Geography, cytology. Temperate to tropical. Cosmopolitan tropical to temperate. X = 11–20.

Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Santaliflorae; Vitidales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Rhamnales. APG 3 Order Vitales.

Species 700. Genera 15; Acareosperma, Ampelocissus, Ampelopsis, Cayratia,Cissus, Clematicissus, Cyphostemma, Nothocissus, Parthenocissus,Pterisanthes, Pterocissus, Rhoicissus, Tetrastigma,Vitis, Yua.

Economic uses, etc. Important for the wine grape (Vitis vinifera) and other species supplying edible fruit for wine and raisins. Ornamental vines from Cissus, Parthenocissus.


  • Technical details: Vitis.
  • Technical details: Vitis (Lindley).
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