| Author||D.J. de Laubenfels|
|Journal||Flora Malesiana - Series 1, Spermatophyta|
|Abstract||Monoecious, medium-sized to very large trees (rarely shrubby in very exposed situations). Either four independent cotyledons or two fused pairs (which may be retained in the seed after germination). The growing point of foliage shoots quite distinct between the two genera, being just a few highly reduced leaves in Araucaria and a highly organized bud formed of overlapping scales in Agathis. The leaves vary from scales or needles to broad leathery forms with many parallel veins sometimes on the same plant at different stages of growth. Pollen produced in cylindrical cones from one to as much as twenty cm long with numerous pedunculate spirally placed microsporophylls each with several to many pendent elongated pollen sacs attached to the lower side of an enlarged shieldlike apex which also projects apically more or less overlapping the adjacent microsporophylls. Pollen cones solitary, terminal or lateral, on branches separate from those bearing seed cones, subtended by a cluster of more or less modified leaves in the form of scales, deciduous when mature. Pollen globular, without ‘wings’. Seeds produced in large, well-formed cones which disintegrate when mature, dispensing the seeds in most cases with the help of wing-like structures; the seed cone terminal on a robust shoot or peduncle with more or less modified leaves that change in a brief transition zone at the base of the cone into cone bracts, formed of numerous spirally-placed bract complexes, usually maturing in the second year. Individual seed cone bract leathery or woody and fused with the fertile scale which bears one large inverted seed on its upper surface.|
Distribution. The 40 species in two genera are well represented in Malesia (13 spp.) and extend eastward and southward into Fiji, New Caledonia (18 spp.), Australia, and New Zealand, with 2 spp. also in the cooler parts of South America, giving the family a distinct Antarctic relationship. Only one species of Araucaria (in South America) occurs completely outside of the tropics, while the majority of the species in the family belong in the lowland tropics and others grow in the tropical highlands.
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