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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 10 | Fabaceae

15. Gleditsia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1056. 1753.

皂荚属 zao jia shu

Authors: Dezhao Chen, Prof. Dianxiang Zhang & Kai Larsen

Trees or shrubs, deciduous. Trunk and branches usually with stout, simple or branched spines. Leaves alternate, often clustered, simply paripinnate and bipinnate often on same plant; stipules caducous, small; rachis of leaves and pinnae sulcate; leaflets numer­ous, subopposite or alternate, base oblique or subsymmetrical, margin serrulate or crenate, rarely entire. Inflorescences axillary, rarely terminal, spikes or racemes, rarely panicles. Flowers polygamous or plants dioecious, light green or greenish white. Receptacle campanulate, outside pubescent. Calyx 3-5-lobed; lobes subequal. Petals 3-5, slightly unequal, ca. as long as or slightly longer than calyx lobes. Stamens 6-10, exserted, slightly flat, broad, with crisped hairs from middle downward; anthers dorsifixed. Ovary sessile or shortly stalked; ovules 1 to numerous; style short; stigma terminal. Legume ovoid or elliptic, flat or subterete.

About 16 species: C and SE Asia, North and South America; six species (three endemic, one introduced) in China.

Gleditsia medogensis C. C. Ni (Acta Phytotax. Sin. 25: 231. 1987), described from SE Xizang (Mêdog), could not be treated here because no material was seen by the present authors. Judging from the protologue, it may be conspecific with the variable G. japonica.

1 Leaflets 6-24 mm, margin entire, upper leaflets smaller than those in lower part; legume 3-6 cm, with 1-3 seeds.   1 G. microphylla
+ Leaflets more than 25 mm, margin irregularly serrate; legume more than 6 cm, with numerous seeds   (2)
2 (1) Legume densely yellowish green velutinous.   6 G. japonica
+ Legume glabrous or puberulent   (3)
3 (2) Leaflets obliquely oblong or rhombic-lanceolate, midvein conspicuous at base; calyx lobes and petals 5; stamens 10; ovary densely silky   (4)
+ Leaflets ovate, ovate-lanceolate, or oblong, midvein at middle or slightly oblique; calyx lobes and petals 3 or 4; stamens 6-8(or 9); ovary not silky   (5)
4 (3) Leaves pinnate or bipinnate; leaflets with reticulate veinlets adaxially obscure; racemes often comprising panicles; legume 6-12 cm, swollen opposite seeds.   2 G. australis
+ Leaves pinnate; leaflets with reticulate veinlets conspicuously raised; racemes simple; legume 13.5-26 cm, not swollen opposite seeds.   3 G. fera
5 (3) Leaflets 11-18 pairs, elliptic-lanceolate, apex acute; ovary hoary.   4 G. triacanthos
+ Leaflets 3-10 pairs, ovate or elliptic, apex obtuse or emarginate; ovary glabrous or only sutures and base pubescent   (6)
6 (5) Spines terete; leaflets with reticulate veinlets adaxially conspicuously raised, margin densely finely serrate; ovary pubescent at base and along sutures; legume thick, not twisted, straight, or curved.   5 G. sinensis
+ Spines flat at least at base; leaflets with reticulate veinlets obscure, margin entire or sparsely shallowly crenate; ovary glabrous; legume flat, irregularly twisted or curved, falcate.   6 G. japonica

Lower Taxa


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