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11. Capparaceae

山柑科 shan gan ke

Authors: Mingli Zhang & Gordon C. Tucker

Shrubs, trees, or woody vines, evergreen (deciduous in some Crateva), with branched or simple trichomes. Stipules spinelike, small, or absent. Leaves alternate or rarely opposite, simple or compound with 3[-9] leaflets. Inflorescences axillary or superaxillary, racemose, corymbose, subumbellate, or paniculate, 2-10-flowered or 1-flowered in leaf axil. Flowers bisexual or sometimes unisexual, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, often with caducous bracteoles. Sepals 4(-8), in 1 or 2 whorls, equal or not, distinct or basally connate, rarely outer whorl or all sepals connected and forming a cap. Petals (0-)4(-8), alternating with sepals, distinct, with or without a claw. Receptacle flat or tapered, often extended into an androgynophore, with nectar gland. Stamens (4-)6 to ca. 200; filaments on receptacle or androgynophore apex, distinct, inflexed or spiraled in bud; anthers basifixed (dorsifixed in Stixis), 2-celled, introrse, longitudinally dehiscent. Pistil 2(-8)-carpellate; gynophore ± as long as stamens; ovary ovoid and terete (linear and ridged in Borthwickia), 1-loculed, with 2 to several parietal placentae (3-6-loculed with axile placentation in Borthwickia and Stixis); ovules several to many, 2-tegmic; style obsolete or highly reduced, sometimes elongated and slender; stigma capitate or not obvious, rarely 3-branched. Fruit a berry or capsule, globose, ellipsoid, or linear, with tough indehiscent exocarp or valvately dehiscent. Seeds 1 to many per fruit, reniform to polygonal, smooth or with various sculpturing; embryo curved; endosperm small or absent.

About 28 genera and ca. 650 species: worldwide in tropical, subtropical, and a few in temperate regions; four genera and 46 species (10 endemic) in China.

Sun Bishin. 1999. Capparaceae (excluding Cleome). In: Wu Chengyi, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 32: 484-531.

1 Leaves compound, with 3 leaflets   (2)
+ Leaves simple   (3)
2 (1) Leaves opposite; sepals connate to form a cap that splits along one side as petals expand; fruit capsular, linear, after dehiscence leaving a persistent axis.   1 Borthwickia
+ Leaves alternate; sepals distinct; fruit a berry, ± ovoid, not dehiscent.   2 Crateva
3 (1) Petals 4; anthers basifixed; placentation parietal; fruit a berry; gynophore equaling or exceeding length of mature fruit.   3 Capparis
+ Petals none; anthers dorsifixed; placentation axile; fruit a drupe; gynophore less than 1/5 as long as mature fruit.   4 Stixis

Lower Taxa


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