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Saururaceae E. Meyer

三白草科 san bai cao ke

Authors: Nianhe Xia & Anthony R. Brach

Herbs perennial, aromatic. Stems erect, ascending, or prostrate, obviously jointed. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules interpetiolately connate or adnate to petiole, forming a sheath. Inflorescence a dense spike or raceme, sometimes resembling a single flower when large involucral petaloid bracts are present at base; bracts evident or inconspicuous. Flowers bisexual; perianth absent. Stamens usually 3, 6, or 8, free or adnate to ovary base; anthers 2-loculed, longitudinally dehiscent. Pistils (2 or)3- or 4-carpelled; carpels distinct or connate, if distinct: each carpel with 2-4 ovules, if connate: ovary 1-loculed, placentation parietal, each placenta with 6-13 ovules; styles free. Fruit a schizocarp or apically dehiscent capsule. Seed 1 or many; endosperm scanty; perisperm abundant; embryo minute.

Four genera and ca. six species: E and S Asia, North America; three genera and four species (one endemic) in China.

Saururaceous taxa have been extensively compared in studies of floral vasculature (H. X. Liang & S. C. Tucker, Amer. J. Bot. 77: 607-623. 1990), organogenesis (H. X. Liang, Acta Phytotax. Sin. 32: 425-432. 1994), pollen morphology (H. X. Liang, Acta Bot. Yunnan. 14: 401-404. 1992), and stem anatomy (S. Carlquist & al., I. A. W. A. Bull, n.s., 16(2): 133-150. 1995). Phylogenetic relationships of Saururaceae and its sister clade Piperaceae have been discussed by S. C. Tucker, (Syst. Bot. 18: 614-641. 1993).

Tseng Yung-chien. 1982. Saururaceae. In: Tseng Yung-chien, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 20(1): 4-11.

1 Herbs prostrate, ± stoloniferous; stamens shorter than styles; petioles nearly as long as or longer than leaf blades   3 Gymnotheca
+ Herbs erect or ascending, rhizomatous; stamens longer than styles; petioles shorter than leaf blades.   (2)
2 (1) Inflorescence a raceme, without involucral petal-like bracts; stamens 6 or 8, rarely 3, filaments ca. as long as or slightly longer than anthers; fruit a schizocarp; leaf blade ovate to ovate-lanceolate   1 Saururus
+ Inflorescence a dense spike, with 4 rarely 6 or 8, involucral petal-like bracts at base; stamens 3, rarely 4, filaments ca. 3 × as long as anthers; fruit a dehiscent capsule; leaf blade broadly ovate or ovate-cordate   2 Houttuynia

Lower Taxa


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