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9. Flacourtiaceae

大风子科 da feng zi ke

Authors: Qiner Yang & Sue Zmarzty

Trees or shrubs, hermaphroditic, monoecious, dioecious, or polygamous, evergreen or deciduous; trunk, branches, and branchlets sometimes spiny; hairs simple, rarely T-shaped or stellate. Leaves simple, usually alternate, rarely opposite or verticillate, sometimes crowded at apices of branches; stipules usually small and caducous, sometimes larger, leaflike and persistent, rarely absent; petiole generally present, sometimes with apex 2-glandular and/or with additional glands along petiole length; leaf blade usually pinnate-veined, sometimes 3-5-veined from base or palmate-veined, with or without pellucid dots or lines, sometimes with a pair of glands at junction of blade and petiole, margin entire or toothed, teeth glandular or not. Inflorescences axillary, terminal, or cauliflorous, of various forms: racemose, spicate, cymose, corymbose, or paniculate, sometimes flowers fasciculate, or solitary; pedicels often articulate; bracts and bracteoles usually small to minute. Flowers radially symmetric, bisexual or unisexual, hypogynous, perigynous, or epigynous; perianth cyclic, rarely spiral, in unisexual flowers remnants of opposite sex present or absent. Sepals imbricate or valvate, rarely spathaceous, mostly (2 or)3-6, rarely more, usually free or connate at base only, sometimes partly united into a tube, caducous or persistent, rarely accrescent. Petals 3-8, rarely more, often isomerous and alternating with sepals, free, imbricate or valvate, rarely contorted, similar to sepals or not, sometimes with a fleshy adaxial basal scale, or petals absent. Disk present, entire, lobed, or comprised of free or connate disk glands, these extrastaminal, interstaminal, or intrastaminal (bisexual or staminate flowers), or extragynoecial (pistillate flowers), or disk absent. Stamens 1 to many (ca. 100), 1- or many seriate, sometimes in epipetalous bundles, or on margin of cupular disk or rim of calyx tube; filaments free, rarely united into a column; anthers 2-thecate, usually longitudinally dehiscent, rarely opening by terminal pores, connective sometimes shortly projected or glandular. Ovary superior or semi-inferior, 1-loculed, with 2-9 parietal placentas, rarely incompletely 2-9(or more)-celled by placentas protruding deeply into locule; ovules 2 or more on each placenta, orthotropous, anatropous, or hemi-anatropous; styles isomerous with placentas, free or partly to completely united, rarely absent, stigmas small or large, capitate to flattened and branched. Fruit capsular or baccate, rarely a drupe, pericarp mostly smooth, sometimes winged or bristly. Seeds 1 to many, with or without a fleshy sometimes brightly colored sarcotesta and/or aril, sometimes with long hairs, or broadly winged; endosperm usually copious and fleshy; embryo straight or curved; cotyledons usually broad, often cordate.

About 87 genera and ca. 900 species: mostly in tropical and subtropical regions, some extending into the temperate zone; 12 genera (one endemic) and 39 species (nine endemic) in China; four additional species (all endemic) are poorly known (see Homalium).

Ahernia glandulosa Merrill (Philipp. J. Sci. 4: 295. 1909), described from the Philippines, reportedly occurs in Hainan, but the present authors have seen no specimens from the Flora area. Flacourtia cavaleriei H. Léveillé (Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 9: 457. 1911) and Xylosma dunniana H. Léveillé (loc. cit.: 455) were both described from Guizhou. After studying specimens at K from the type gathering (Cavalerie 3327 and Cavalerie 1151, respectively), it is not clear where they belong, and for the time being they must be regarded as species incertae sedis. Erythrospermum hypoleucum Oliver is the basionym of Celastrus hypoleucus (Oliver) Warburg ex Loesener in the Celastraceae (see Fl. China 11). Oncoba spinosa Forsskal and Dovyalis hebecarpa (Gardner) Warburg are occasionally cultivated.

In some treatments, where the genera of Flacourtiaceae are completely transferred to other families, and Flacourtiaceae is treated as a synonym of Salicaceae sensu lato, Chinese genera have been reclassified as follows: two genera (Hydnocarpus and Gynocardia) moved to Achariaceae sensu lato, all others to Salicaceae sensu lato (Chase et al., Kew. Bull. 57: 141-181. 2002).

Lai Shushen. 1999. Flacourtiaceae. In: Ku Tsuechih, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 52(1): 1-80.

Key to genera based on material in fruit

1 Mature fruit enclosed for 2/3-3/4 of its length by persistent adnate perianth, sepals and petals persistent at calyx tube rim, fruit small, capsular (less than 12 mm).   11 Homalium
+ Mature fruit not at all enclosed by persistent perianth, fruit type and size various   (2)
2 (1) Fruit a dehiscent ovoid or fusiform capsule, splitting from apex and base into narrow fusiform valves attached only by woody placental strands, outer tomentose layer sometimes dehiscent, locule filled with vertically arranged winged seeds; disk characters, although often present and useful with experience, are not relied upon heavily here as they are difficult to observe, and can be confused with perianth scars   (3)
+ Fruit not as above   (5)
3 (2) Leaves pinnate-veined, lateral veins 10-26 pairs.   10 Itoa
+ Leaves 3-5-veined from base, lateral veins 4-6 pairs   (4)
4 (3) Seed completely encircled by wing.   8 Poliothyrsis
+ Seed with wing at one end only.   9 Carrierea
5 (2) Mature fruit large, 4-12 cm in diam., seed embedded in pulp   (6)
+ Mature fruit small to medium sized (3-30 mm in length or diam.)   (7)
6 (5) Fruit arising from tubercles on stems, older branches, and trunks; pericarp glabrous, grayish; dried mature leaves grayish green.   2 Gynocardia
+ Fruit not arising from tubercles on stems, older branches, and trunks; in H. annamensis and H. hainanensis fruit tomentose or velutinous, distinguishable from Gynocardia on that basis; in H. anthelminthicus fruit is finally glabrous, usually darkish brown in dried state, dried mature leaves reddish brown.   1 Hydnocarpus
7 (5) Fruit a drupe containing pyrenes; in dried state 10-30 mm, often longitudinally angled at maturity and squarish or rectangular in longitudinal section, with a flattish apex; styles 4-7, persistent at apex, free or partly to completely fused.   4 Flacourtia
+ Fruit not as above: try using character combinations below:
3. Scolopia: spines sometimes present; fruiting racemes axillary or terminal, short, 0.5-6 cm, these sometimes reduced almost to fascicles; fruit baccate, in dried state ca. 10 mm in diam. or less; sepal, petal, and stamen remnants usually present at base of fruit (flowers bisexual, petalous), persistent style column 3-5 mm.
5. Xylosma: spines sometimes present; fruiting racemes, panicles, or fascicles axillary, to 5 cm; fruit baccate, in dried state to ca. 7 mm in diam.; sepals persistent or not, petal remnants always absent, stamen remnants usually absent (flowers apetalous, usually unisexual, very rarely bisexual), persistent style column 0-1.5 mm.
6. Bennettiodendron: unarmed; panicles 6-12(-20) cm; fruit baccate, in dried state to 10 mm in diam., perianth caducous; stamens usually absent (flowers usually unisexual); pedicels to 1 cm, often conspicuously warted by very prominent lenticels; leaves narrowly to broadly elliptic, elliptic-oblong, or obovate, bases acute or obtuse cuneate, pinnate-veined; petioles never with glands in lower half.
7. Idesia: unarmed; fruiting panicles (sometimes racemelike) 20-30 cm; fruit baccate, in dried state to 10 mm in diam.; leaves broadly ovate, bases cordate or broadly rounded, 3-5-veined from base; petioles sometimes with glands in lower half.
12. Casearia: unarmed; leaves sometimes pellucid-punctate; fruiting glomerules axillary (infructescence axis absent); fruit capsular, though fleshy and berrylike before dehiscence, in dried state 8-30 mm, typically longitudinally (2 or)3-angled, less often smooth, dehiscing finally by (2 or)3 valves, hairy disk lobes and stamens often persistent at base.

List of Keys

  • List of lower taxa


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