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7. Commelinaceae R. Brown

鸭趾草科 ya zhi cao ke

Authors: Deyuan Hong & Robert A. DeFilipps

Spatholirion longifolium

Credit: Harvard University Herbaria

Herbs annual or perennial, sometimes woody at base. Stems with prominent nodes and internodes. Leaves alternate, distichous or spirally arranged, sessile or petiolate; leaf sheath prominent, open or closed; leaf blade simple, entire. Inflorescence usually of cincinni in panicles or solitary, sometimes shortened into heads, sometimes sessile with flowers fascicled, sometimes axillary and penetrating enveloping leaf sheath, rarely flowers solitary and terminal or axillary. Flowers bisexual, rarely unisexual, actinomorphic or zygomorphic. Sepals 3, free or connate only at base, often boat-shaped or carinate, sometimes galeate at apex. Petals (2 or)3, free, sometimes connate and tubular at middle and free at 2 ends ( Cyanotis), sometimes clawed. Stamens 6, free, all or only 2 or 3 fertile; filaments glabrous or torulose villous; anthers parallel or slightly divergent, longitudinally dehiscent, rarely dehiscent by apical pores; staminodes 1--3; antherodes 4-lobed and butterflylike, 3-sect, 2-lobed and dumbbell-shaped, or entire. Ovary 3-loculed, or reduced to 2-loculed; ovules 1 to several per locule, orthotropous. Fruit a loculicidal, 2- or 3-valved capsule, rarely baccate and indehiscent. Seeds few, large; endosperm copious; hilum orbicular or linear.

About 40 genera and 650 species: mainly in tropical regions, fewer species in subtropical and temperate regions; 15 genera (two introduced) and 59 species (12 endemic, three introduced) in China.

Hong Deyuan. 1997. Commelinaceae. In: Wu Kuo-fang, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 13(3): 69--133.


1 Inflorescence penetrating leaf sheath, sessile, capitate; fertile stamens 6.   (2)
+ Inflorescence neither penetrating leaf sheath nor sessile nor capitate; stems sometimes with lateral branches penetrating leaf sheaths; fertile stamens 6 or fewer.   (3)
       
2 (1) Herbs erect, sometimes procumbent proximally, simple; anthers dehiscent by longitudinal slit   5 Amischotolype
+ Herbs climbing, branched; anthers dehiscent by apical pore   6 Porandra
       
3 (1) Climbers; involucral bracts large, spathelike; flowers in basal and middle cincinni of panicles bisexual, others male.   (4)
+ Herbs erect or prostrate; involucral bracts spathelike or not; flowers all bisexual.   (5)
       
4 (3) Cincinni all involucral; lateral branches with an inflorescence at every node; ovules 2 per locule   1 Streptolirion
+ Only basal cincinni involucral; branches without an inflorescence at most nodes; ovules 8 per locule   2 Spatholirion
       
5 (3) Fruits baccate, indehiscent; inflorescence terminal   10 Pollia
+ Fruits capsular; inflorescence terminal or not.   (6)
       
6 (5) Inflorescence terminal, broomlike, with extremely numerous small flowers; capsule small, 2-valved, with 1 seed per valve   7 Floscopa
+ Inflorescence terminal or not, not broomlike; capsule 3-valved, rarely 2-valved when fertile stamens 3.   (7)
       
7 (6) Involucral bracts spathelike (except in Cyanotis axillaris, which has inflorescence enveloped in leaf sheath; fertile stamens 6; petals connate at middle).   (8)
+ Involucral bracts present or absent, spreading or sheathlike, never spathelike.   (10)
       
8 (7) Petals connate, tubular, with 2 ends free; fertile stamens 6; bracts falcate-curved, imbricately arranged in 2 rows   4 Cyanotis
+ Petals wholly free; fertile stamens 3 or 6; bracts not imbricately arranged in 2 rows.   (9)
       
9 (8) Flowers zygomorphic; fertile stamens 3, inserted on 1 side; antherodes 4-lobed, butterflylike; capsule usually 2-valved, posterior valve often indehiscent   13 Commelina
+ Flowers actinomorphic; fertile stamens 6; capsule 3-valved   14 Tradescantia
       
10 (7) Inflorescence sessile or extremely shortly pedunculate, flowers nearly in axillary heads or fascicled; fertile stamens usually 6, less often 1--3.   (11)
+ Inflorescence obviously pedunculate, terminal or also axillary; fertile stamens 2 or 3.   (12)
       
11 (10) Petals pink, blue, or purple; filaments bearded, connectives narrow; stigma capitate   3 Belosynapsis
+ Petals white; filaments glabrous, connectives broad, square, deltoid, oblong, rarely narrow; stigma mostly penicillate   15 Callisia
       
12 (10) Staminodes apically entire and sagittate, or 3-sect; fertile stamens 3 (sometimes 1 or 2 aborted), all inserted opposite sepals   8 Murdannia
+ Staminodes apically dumbbell-shaped; fertile stamens 2 or 3, inserted in posterior or anterior position.   (13)
       
13 (12) Fertile stamens anterior; capsule cylindric, 2--3 × longer than wide; seeds 4--8 per valve   9 Tricarpelema
+ Fertile stamens posterior; capsule globose; seed 1 per valve.   (14)
       
14 (13) Fruit glabrous; petals not clawed, usually white   11 Dictyospermum
+ Fruit adhesive to touch with glandular, hooked hairs; upper petals shortly clawed, pale lilac   12 Rhopalephora

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