The families of flowering plants.
Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs (rarely). Leaves alternate; spiral (but often pseudoverticillate or tufted); petiolate; not gland-dotted; simple. Lamina entire; usually oblanceolate; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins entire, or crenate, or dentate.
General anatomy. Plants with silica bodies.
Stem anatomy. Secretory cavities absent. Cork cambium present. Cortical bundles present (these orientated with the xylem on the outside). Medullary bundles absent. Internal phloem absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. ‘Included’ phloem absent. Vessel end-walls mostly simple. Wood parenchyma apotracheal.
Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’ (usually); when solitary, terminal; in racemes, or in corymbs. The ultimate inflorescence unit racemose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary; racemes or corymbs, often elongated. Flowers medium-sized to large; regular to very irregular; when irregular, asymmetric. The floral irregularity involving the androecium, or involving the perianth and involving the androecium. Flowers cyclic; pentacyclic, or polycyclic. Free hypanthium present to absent.
Perianthwith distinct calyx and corolla; (6–)8–12; 2 whorled; isomerous; different in the two whorls. Calyx (2–)4(–6); 1 whorled; polysepalous, or gamosepalous; when gamosepalous, blunt-lobed; calyptrate (rarely, in Barringtonia), or not calyptrate; imbricate (rarely calyptrate). Corolla 4(–6); 1 whorled; polypetalous, or gamopetalous (sometimes fused to the staminal cup);imbricate.
Androecium50–100 (or more — i.e. ‘many’, giving the flowers a fluffy, myrtaceous appearance). Androecial members maturing centrifugally; free of the perianth, or adnate (to the corolla); coherent (the filaments basally united, usually in several series, often concentrated on one side of the flower by abortion of members); 1–20 adelphous (to ‘polyadelphous’); 3–5 whorled (‘in several series’). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens, or including staminodes (sometimes including members lacking anthers). Stamens 20–100 (‘many’); polystemonous; inflexed in bud (or incurved). Anthers basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; latrorse; tetrasporangiate. Endothecium developing fibrous thickenings. Microsporogenesis simultaneous. Anther wall initially with more than one middle layer (two); of the ‘basic’ type. Tapetum amoeboid. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate (with a specialised marginal ridge); (syn-) colpate, or colporate (or colporoidate); 3-celled.
Gynoecium 2–4(–6) carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth to isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 2–4(–6) celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; inferior. Ovary 2–4(–6) locular. Epigynous disk present (intrastaminal). Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1. Placentation axile to apical. Ovules 2–50 per locule (to ‘many’); anatropous; unitegmic (?—Cronquist 1981), or bitegmic; tenuinucellate. Outer integument not contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Endosperm formation nuclear.
Fruit fleshy, or non-fleshy; dehiscent, or indehiscent; capsular-indehiscent (then broadly 4-winged), or a berry (then fibrous, usually one-seeded), or a capsule.Capsules sometimes circumscissile. Seeds non-endospermic; often woody and large. Embryo well differentiated.
Physiology, biochemistry. Iridoids not detected. Proanthocyanidins absent.
Geography, cytology. Paleotropical. Tropical. Palaeotropical. X = 13.
Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Theiflorae; Theales. Cronquist’s Subclass Dilleniidae; Lecythidales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; Order Ericales (as a synonym of Lecythidaceae).
Species about 55. Genera 6; Abdulmajidia, Barringtonia, Careya, Chydenanthus,Combretodendron (= Petersianthus), Petersianthus, Planchonia.
General remarks. Mortonet al. (1998) present these genera as subfamily Planchonioideae of an expanded Lecythidaceae, based on an assessment ‘using both molecular and morphological data’.