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Molluginaceae Hutchinson

粟米草科 su mi cao ke

Authors: Dequan Lu & Heidrun E. K. Hartmann

Herbs annual or perennial, subshrubs, or shrubs, rarely dioecious, glabrous or rarely hairy. Stems erect or prostrate. Leaves simple, alternate, rarely opposite, often in a basal rosette or in pseudowhorls on stems, margin entire; stipules absent or membranous. Inflorescences terminal or in seemingly axillary cymes, rarely as a solitary flower. Flowers bisexual, rarely unisexual, actinomorphic, hypogynous, rarely perigynous. Tepals 5, rarely 4, free or connate below into a tube, lobes white or pink to purple, sometimes yellow inside (in Glinus). Petals absent or few to many, white, pink, or purple. Stamens 3-5 or many, arranged in several rings, free or connate at base in bundles; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, syncarpous (in Gisekia developmentally syncarpous; fruit a deeply lobed schizocarp); carpels 2-5 or many, placentation axile, rarely seemingly basal. Stigmas as many as locules. Ovules 1 to many per locule. Fruit usually a loculicidal capsule or deeply (3-)5-15-lobed mericarps (in Gisekia), rarely breaking into 2 nutlets [in Limeum Linnaeus, not in Flora area]. Seeds with embryo curved around a hard, starchy perisperm.

About 14 genera and 120 species: arid, tropical and subtropical regions of both hemispheres; three genera and eight species in China.

The relationships of the anomalous genus Gisekia are uncertain. In the past, Gisekia has been included in Aizoaceae, often together with Molluginaceae. Recent treatments offer either a placement in Phytolaccaceae (e.g., Rohwer in Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Fl. Pl. 2: 511, 514. 1993) or in a family of its own, Gisekiaceae (e.g., Gilbert, Kew Bull. 48: 343–356. 1993); one of us (Hartmann) favors either option. The mericarpic fruit separates the genus from Aizoaceae and Molluginaceae, from which it differs also by the presence of betalain and the absence of anthocyanin as pigments. No currently accepted plant family contains both anthocyanin and betalain producers.

Lu Dequan. 1996. Aizoaceae (GisekiaMollugo). In: Tang Changlin, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 26: 20–30.

1 Carpels apparently free, fruit deeply (3-)5-lobed mericarps; seeds 1 per locule.   1 Gisekia
+ Carpels connate, fruit a loculicidal capsule; seeds many per locule.   (2)
2 (1) Seeds with long filiform arils: strophioles; flowers mostly with staminodes.   2 Glinus
+ Seeds without filiform strophioles; flowers without staminodes.   3 Mollugo

Lower Taxa


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