| Author||B. Verdcourt|
|Journal||Flora Malesiana - Series 1, Spermatophyta|
|Abstract||Erect or straggling herbs, shrubs or trees, sometimes monoecious or dioecious, the herbs sometimes rhizomatous; branches sometimes jointed at the nodes, sometimes without vessels ( Sarcandra). Leaves simple, decussate or sometimes whorled in fours, serrate, crenate or dentate, the teeth often thickened at the apex, penninerved, usually petiolate; petioles more or less connected at the base at least by a transverse line or connate into a distinct sheath; in Ascarina often alternating with leafless internodes which have the petiolar sheath; stipules minute to fairly conspicuous, subulate, borne on the petiole bases or sheath, occasionally pectinate. Flowers much reduced, without perianth, fully unisexual or essentially bisexual with the reduced anther-bearing organ adnate to the side of the ovary; arranged in spicate, paniculate, or capitate axillary or terminal inflorescences. — Male flowers bracteate or not, apparently consisting of 1—5 stamens, or in Hedyosmum consisting of numerous anthers in a cone-like structure; if 3 then the whole forming a fused 3-lobed organ sometimes enveloping the female flower by its edges, the central anther with 2 or aborted loculi and the laterals with single loculi, simply lobed or with connectives slightly to considerably produced so that the whole organ is 3-fingered; if with only 2 anther locelli then these on either side of a thickened filament plus connective. — Female flowers naked or enclosed by a cupular bract, the perianth adnate to the ovary, often minutely or shortly dentate at the apex and the ovary thus inferior; ovary 1-locular; stigma sessile or style short; truncate, 2-lipped, depressed or subcapitate (or horseshoe-shaped in one species), rarely linear or clavate. Ovule solitary, orthotropous, pendulous, bitegmic and crassinucellate. Drupes fleshy, small, ovoid or globose, sometimes more or less 3-sided in Hedyosmum, free or united into a mass by the bracts; endocarp hardened and crustaceous. Seeds subglobose, exarillate, with copious fleshy or oily endosperm and minute embryo, the cotyledons divaricate or scarcely formed.|
Distribution. Four genera with about 80 species. Since VESTER’S (1940) small-scale map the family (Ascarina) has been found in Madagascar. It is mainly tropical but Ascarina extends south to North Island of New Zealand (fig. 6) and Chloranthus and Sarcandra extend north to Japan, China, Korea and the eastern U.S.S.R. (Ussuri).
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