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Myrsinaceae R. Brown

紫金牛科 zi jin niu ke

Authors: Jie Chen & John J. Pipoly, III

Myrsine africana

Credit: Harvard University Herbaria

Trees, shrubs, climbers [or rarely herbs]. Leaves simple, alternate, rarely opposite or whorled, without stipules, often glandular. Inflorescences terminal, axillary, or at apices of lateral branches, racemose (often paniculate), corymbose, cymose, umbellate, or fascicled on scaly spur branches in leaf axils. Flowers bisexual or polygamous, rarely unisexual and plants polygamodioecious or dioecious, 4- or 5(or 6)-merous, actinomorphic. Sepals basally connate or free, persistent, usually glandular. Petals basally connate or rarely free, usually glandular. Stamens as many as and opposite to petals, usually adnate to base or throat of corolla tube, sometimes free, rarely united into a tube; anthers 2-celled, dorsifixed, dehiscing longitudinally or by apical slits or pores, rarely transversely septate; filaments present or absent. Ovary superior, rarely inferior to half-inferior, 1-celled; placentation free-central, sometimes basal; ovules 1 to several in 11 to many rows, usually embedded in placenta, anatropous or semicampylotropous. Style 1; stigma simple or lobed. Fruit drupes with fleshy exocarp or capsules. Seeds 1 to many; endosperm fleshy or horny; embryo x = 10-13, 23.

About 42 genera and more than 2,200 species: primarily in tropical and subtropical or warm temperate regions of both hemispheres; five genera and 120 species (51 endemic) in China.

Chinese genera of economic value include Ardisia (medicine, oil, edible, wild vegetables), Maesa (edible, tea, dye), Aegiceras (tannin, fine fuel), Embelia (vermifuge, edible), Myrsine (medicine, fine wood, tannin, fuel).

Chen Chieh. 1979. Myrsinaceae. Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 58: 1-147.

1 Ovary and fruit semi-inferior to inferior; bracteoles 2; seeds numerous, angular   1 Maesa
+ Ovary and fruit superior; bracteoles absent; seeds 1, globose or elongated and curved.   (2)
2 (1) Fruit an elongated curved capsule; anther cells transversely septate; usually mangrove plants   2 Aegiceras
+ Fruit a globose drupe often with a fleshy exocarp; anthers not septate; mountains and broad-leaved forests.   (3)
3 (2) Inflorescences on a long peduncle or at tips of specialized lateral branches; corolla lobes contorted in bud. Stigma usually apiculate   3 Ardisia
+ Inflorescences often on scaly short branches or spurs; corolla lobes imbricate or valvate in bud. Stigma often not apiculate.   (4)
4 (3) Inflorescences racemose or paniculate, terminal or axillary; climbing shrubs, rarely vines   4 Embelia
+ Inflorescences umbellate or fascicled, at axils of apical leaves; shrubs or small trees   5 Myrsine

Lower Taxa


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