| Author||M. Jacobs|
|Journal||Flora Malesiana - Series 1, Spermatophyta|
|Abstract||Herbs or shrubs, often climbing, rarely trees. Indument, if present, consisting of simple (unicellular or multicellular) hairs (sometimes capitate-glandular), stellate hairs, or appendages ( Cleome). Leaves spirally arranged, petioled, simple, palmately dissected, or compound, entire, penninerved, in Stixis pelluciddotted. Stipules thorny, or minute, or wanting. Inflorescences racemose, terminal or lateral, rarely the flowers axillary, or sometimes serial. Bracts, if present, small and caducous, rarely with stipular bracteoles. Flowers bisexual but sometimes the gynoecium reduced (in extra-Mal. spp. staminodes may occur), actinomorphic with a tendency towards zygomorphism, especially in the receptacle and in the position of the petals, mostly in bud until anthesis, but in Crateva opening at a very early stage. Sepals 4, either equal or in 2 whorls of 2 and then the outer pair enveloping the bud and slightly different from the inner pair, or (in Stixis) in 2 equal whorls of 3, free, rarely the outer pair connate in bud. Petals 4 or (in Stixis) absent, free, often unguiculate, equal, or sometimes 2 of the Petals slightly asymmetrical and adjoining at the base. Receptacle more or less conical, often with peculiar protrusions, such as (in Malaysia) a small anterior disk in Capparis, or a long anterior tubular gland in Cadaba, or a ring in Crateva. Stamens (4-)6 to ~, in Malaysian genera all fertile, either free or their base connate with the gynophore in a very short to very long androgynophore; anthers dorsifixed, often near the base, introrse, 2-locular, dehiscent lengthwise, connective inconspicuous. Ovary generally on a long gynophore, to sessile, ovoid to cylindrical, with a small, simple, sessile stigma, 2-6-carpellate, in Malaysia 1-3-locular. Ovules mostly ~, on parietal, rarely axillary placentas, campyotropous, with 2 integuments, a third, thin, innermost seed-coat of tracheal tissue being present at least in certain examined cases. Fruit a capsule, or a berry with tough exocarp. Seeds ~, rarely 1 (Stixis), mostly coiled-reniform, poor in endosperm; embryo curved, horseshoe-shaped or coiled, the cotyledons mostly involute or plicate, or coiled, or one partly enveloping the other; testa in seeds of dry fruits mostly sculptured and sometimes with an elaiosome, otherwise smooth.|
Distribution. About 45 genera and approximately 700 spp. in tropical and subtropical regions. The largest genera are Capparis (over 250 spp.), Cleome (over 150 spp.), Maerua (over 50 spp.), and Boscia (over 35 spp.). Capparis and Cleome are both best-represented in the neotropics; another large centre is Africa. Monotypic genera are extremely numerous in this family: of the 45 genera acknowledged by PAX & HOFFMANN 20 (44%) are monotypic. Even if some might be reduced in future studies the figure will remain remarkably high. SE. Asia and Australia are the poorest in monotypic genera, either area having 3; it is not certain that all these six monotypic genera can be upheld. These six monotypic genera are also endemic and only SE. Asia has one more endemic genus. On account of these facts, I presume that the family occupied these parts of the world later than Africa and the `neotropics.
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