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Myrsinaceae

S. M. H. JAFRI & SAIDA QAISER


Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi.

Myrsine africana
Illustration

Credit: Shaukat

Trees or shrubs, sometimes scandent. Leaves simple, alternate, exstipulate, usually coriaceous, glandular. Inflorescence racemose or short fascicled. Flowers small, 4-5-merous, bi- or uni-sexual. Sepals 4-5, free or basally connate, persistent. Corolla 4-5-lobed, with very short to conspicuous tube. Stamens 4-5, epipetalous, opposite to corolla-lobes; staminodes in flowers sometimes quite large; anthers 2-celled, introrse. Ovary superior, rarely semi-inferior, 1-locular with few to many ovules on a basal or free-central placenta, often sunk in placental tissue; style and stigma simple or stigma lobed. Fruit a drupe or a berry, 1 to many-seeded; seeds globose with fleshy or horny endosperm.

About 35 genera and nearly 1000 species, widespread mainly in the tropical and subtropical regions.

Reptonia DC. is often dealt with in Myrsinaceae but is now under Sapotaceae. Represented here by 5 genera and 7 species.

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L. 480 and to Messrs. B.L. Burtt, I.C. Hedge and Miss J. Lamond of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, for going through the manuscript and giving valuable suggestions.


1 Ovary semi-inferior. Fruit a many seeded berry, enclosed in the persistent calyx   Maesa
+ Ovary superior. Fruit a drupe or berry-like, 1- seeded, not enclosed by the calyx   (2)
       
2 (1) Flowers in elongated, lax racemes. Ovules in 1 row   Embelia
+ Flowers in short fascicles, umbels or corymbs. Ovules in many rows   (3)
       
3 (2) Fruit short, cylindric, curved. In mangrove habitats   Aegiceras
+ Fruit globose. Not in mangrove habitats   (4)
       
4 (3) Fruit 3-5 mm in diameter, red-purple, not juicy   Myrsine
+ Fruit 7-12 mm in diameter, black, juicy   Ardisia

Lower Taxa

Related Synonym(s):


 

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