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Moraceae Link

桑科 sang ke

Authors: Zhengyi Wu, Zhe-Kun Zhou & Michael G. Gilbert

Trees, shrubs, vines, or rarely herbs, frequently with milky or watery latex, sometimes spiny. Stipules present, frequently caducous. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite; petiole often present and well-defined; leaf blade simple, sometimes with cystoliths, margin entire or palmately lobed, venation pinnate or palmate. Inflorescences axillary, frequently paired, racemose, spicate, capitate, or rarely cymose, sometimes a fig or syconium with flowers completely enclosed within a hollow receptacle. Flowers unisexual (plants monoecious or dioecious), small to very small. Calyx lobes (1 or)2-4(-8), free or connate, imbricate or valvate. Corolla absent. Male flowers: stamens as many as and opposite to calyx lobes (except in Artocarpus), straight or inflexed in bud; anthers 1- or 2-loculed, crescent-shaped to top-shaped; pistillode (rudimentary sterile pistil) often present. Female flowers: calyx lobes usually 4; ovary superior, semi-inferior, or inferior, 1(or 2)-loculed; ovules 1 per locule, anatropous or campylotropous; style branches 1 or 2; stigmas usually filiform. Fruit usually a drupe, rarely an achene, enveloped by an enlarged calyx and/or immersed in a fleshy receptacle, often joined into a syncarp. Seed solitary; endosperm present or absent.

Between 37 and 43 genera and 1100–1400 species: widespread in tropical and subtropical areas, less common in temperate areas; nine genera and 144 species (26 endemic, five introduced) in China.

Economically, the most important species are those of Morus and Maclura associated with the production of silk. Some species in Broussonetia, Maclura, and Morus are important for paper making; some species in Artocarpus, Ficus, and Morus have edible fruit; and some species of Artocarpus and Broussonetia are used for furniture or timber.

Chang Siushih, Wu Chengyih & Cao Ziyu. 1998. Moroideae. In: Chang Siushih & Wu Chengyih, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 23(1): 1–219.

1 Herbs, without latex; inflorescences a lax cyme.   1 Fatoua
+ Trees, shrubs, or vines, with latex; inflorescences usually very compact, occasionally spikelike, very rarely a cyme.   (2)
2 (1) Inflorescences a fig with many minute flowers completely enclosed within a hollow receptacle opening by an apical pore closed by scale-like bracts.   9 Ficus
+ Inflorescences a capitulum, spike, or raceme, rarely a cyme, or with flowers inserted on a discoid receptacle.   (3)
3 (2) Material with male flowers.   (4)
+ Material in fruit or with female flowers.   (10)
4 (3) Stamens straight in flower buds, rarely inflexed.   (5)
+ Stamens inflexed in flower buds.   (7)
5 (4) Male flower calyx tubular.   6 Artocarpus
+ Male flower calyx lobes free or nearly so.   (6)
6 (5) Plants often armed with axillary spines, at least when young, often climbing, sometimes a small tree; flowers in a globose head.   7 Maclura
+ Plants unarmed, a large freestanding tree; flowers inserted on a discoid receptacle.   8 Antiaris
7 (4) Plant sometimes spiny, particularly on juvenile growth; bisexual inflorescences sometimes present; pistillode absent.   5 Streblus
+ Plant unarmed; bisexual inflorescences absent; pistillode often present.   (8)
8 (7) Male flower calyx lobes imbricate.   2 Morus
+ Male flower calyx lobes valvate.   (9)
9 (8) Leaf blade clearly 3-5-veined at base, often lobed, margin conspicuously toothed.   3 Broussonetia
+ Leaf blade strictly pinnately veined, never lobed, margin entire or inconspicuously toothed.   4 Malaisia
10 (3) Inflorescences with an involucre of several overlapping bracts.   (11)
+ Inflorescences subtended by a few bracts, very small relative to flowers, or without any bracts.   (12)
11 (10) Large tree; infructescences with a single (rarely 2) drupe ± enclosed within a fleshy receptacle.   8 Antiaris
+ Climber; infructescences with drupe clearly exserted from an almost cupule-like infructescence.   4 Malaisia
12 (10) Inflorescences 1-8-flowered; mature drupe usually surrounded by persistent, ± free sepals.   5 Streblus
+ Inflorescences many-flowered; fruit enclosed within a syncarp or fleshy perianth.   (13)
13 (12) Leaf margins clearly toothed, rarely subentire and then with a long, slender infructescence.   (14)
+ Leaf margin entire or shallowly crenate.   (15)
14 (13) Stigmas 2, equal (rarely subequal); calyx lobes imbricate.   2 Morus
+ Stigma solitary or with a vestigial second lobe; calyx lobes valvate.   3 Broussonetia
15 (13) Trees to 40 m high, rarely less than 8 m, without spines; bracteoles and perianth without glands; mature syncarp (3-)5-15 or more cm.   6 Artocarpus
+ Plants climbing or if erect, a shrub or small tree less than 7 m high, often with axillary spines, at least when young; bracteoles and perianth with yellow glands; mature syncarp 1.5-2.5(-5) cm.   7 Maclura

Lower Taxa


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  • Arctocarpus sp. (Xiangying Wen)
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  • Maclura pomifera (Xiangying Wen)
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  • Moraceae sp. (Xiangying Wen)
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  • Moraceae sp. (Hong Song)
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  • Moraceae sp. (Xiangying Wen)
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