| Author||L.L. Forman|
|Journal||Flora Malesiana - Series 1, Spermatophyta|
|Abstract||Dioecious woody or sometimes herbaceous climbers, rarely erect shrubs or trees (Cocculus sp. in Mal.); tubers sometimes present ( Stephania spp.); sometimes producing exudate or rarely latex ( Fibraurea; Tinomiscium). Wood often with concentric rings or arcs of vascular bundles separated radially by interfascicular rays, or vascular bundles in one ring; wood sometimes yellow. Young shoots often tendrilliform. Young stems usually drying longitudinally striate. Stipules absent. Leaves spiral, simple (rarely trifoliolate extra-Mal.), often palmatinerved at base and sometimes peltate, or penninerved, margin usually entire, sometimes broadly crenate (rarely dentate extra-Mal.), sometimes deeply 3—5-lobed; petiole often swollen at base, sometimes also at apex, sometimes leaving a raised discoid scar on the stem. Inflorescences axillary or on defoliate branches or cauliflorous; solitary or fasciculate, various in form, often cymes, thyrses or pseudoracemes, branching of cymes rarely umbelliform (Stephania spp.), flowers rarely in a disciform capitulum ( Stephania spp.); female usually fewerflowered than male, female rarely with accrescent bracts ( Cissampelos spp.). Flowers small, usually green, yellow or white, actinomorphic or female sometimes zygomorphic. Sepals usually in 1—2(—4) whorls of 3, or 1 whorl of 4, the outer whorl(s) smallest, imbricate but the innermost whorl sometimes valvate and sometimes ± connate, sepals rarely spirally arranged (Hypserpa); in female sometimes reduced to 1 or 2. Petals mostly 3—6 in 1 or 2 whorls or 0, free or sometimes ± connate, usually smaller than the sepals, rarely larger (Sarcopetalum), the lateral edges or lobes often inflexed and sometimes clasping the opposite stamen, often glandular within; in female sometimes reduced to 1 or 2. Stamens mostly 3 or 6, sometimes 9 or up to c. 40, often free and opposite a petal, or variously connate, sometimes forming a peltate synandrium, connective sometimes adaxially or abaxially thickened, rarely terminally prolonged [Macrococculus); anthers introrse to extrorse with dehiscence longitudinal to transverse. Staminodes sometimes present in female, usually subulate. Carpels free, usually 3 or 6, sometimes 1 or to 12 (to c. 30 in extra-Mal. Tiliacora), sometimes borne on a short gynophore; style terminal when present; stigma often sessile, reflexed and lobed or divided. Pistillodes 0 in male. Ovules 2 reducing to 1 in development, attached ventrally. Fruits of 1—6 (—10) drupes sometimes borne on an enlarged ± globose, discoid or columnar carpophore which is rarely shortly branched ( Anamirta, Tiliacora). Drupes sometimes narrowed at base into a stipe, style-scar terminal, ventral or close to base; exocarp membranous to coriaceous, mesocarp fleshy; endocarp usually bony, rarely papyraceous to crustaceous (Pycnarrhena spp.), rugose, tuberculate, spiny, ridged or variously ornamented on at least the dorsal surface, sometimes smooth or surface fibrous, usually with a condyle, i.e. a ventral sometimes hollow intrusion into the seedcavity around which the seed is curved, or a ventral groove, cavity or chamber; the condyle when hollow often 2-chambered and with 2 lateral or ventral apertures, or condyle septiform or lamelliform, then sometimes centrally perforate. Seed often horseshoe-shaped or subannular, sometimes straight and ± broadly ellipsoidal or deeply cup-shaped; endosperm present or absent, sometimes ruminate. Embryo usually either elongate and with semiterete or flattened contiguous cotyledons or flat and very thin with divaricate foliaceous cotyledons, sometimes broadly ellipsoidal with thick contiguous cotyledons, rarely cotyledons much folded (Arcangelisia); radicle very small.|
Distribution. The family is almost entirely tropical, the exceptions being Menispermum, a northern temperate genus with 2 disjunct species in North America and Northern Asia, and a few species of Cocculus which extend into North America and temperate Asia.
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