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Bretschneideraceae Engler & Gilg


Description from Flora of China

Trees. Myrosin cells present in bark of branches and in inflorescence, producing glucosinolates. Leaves alternate, imparipinnate; leaflets petiolulate, opposite or lower ones alternate, entire; veins pinnate; stipules absent. Racemes terminal, erect. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic. Calyx broadly campanulate, 5-lobed. Petals 5, free, imbricate, unequal, clawed, adnate from middle to upper part of calyx tube. Stamens 8, attached to thin, annular nectary disc at base of petals, shorter than petals; filaments filiform, hairy, especially in basal 1/2. Pistil 1; ovary superior, sessile, 3-5-loculed; placentation axile; ovules 2 per locule, pendulous; style longer than stamens; stigma capitate, minute. Fruit a capsule; valves 3-5, thick walled, dehiscent. Seeds oblong; endosperm absent.

The taxonomic placement of the Bretschneideraceae has been enigmatic, with alliances postulated among such widely divergent families as Capparaceae, Fabaceae, Hippocastanaceae, Moringaceae, and Sapindaceae. Two studies (Boufford et al., Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 17: 375-379. 1989; Tobe & Peng, Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 103: 139-152. 1990) indicate a close relationship with Hippocastanaceae and Sapindaceae. More recent evidence aligns Bretschneidera with the monotypic Akania J. D. Hooker (from Australia) in the Akaniaceae, distinct from the Sapindaceae (Doweld, Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 120: 379-389. 1996; Rodman, Syst. Bot. 16: 598-618 and 619-629. 1991; Rodman et al., Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 80: 866-699. 1993).

Chen Wei-chiu. 1984. Bretschneideraceae. In: Fu Shu-hsia & Fu Kun-tsun, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 34(1): 8-10.

One species: S China, N Thailand, N Vietnam.

(Authors: Lu Lianli (Lou Lian-li); David E. Boufford)

Lower Taxon


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