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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Achariaceae Harms

Excluding currently about a dozen genera long referred to Flacourticeae (q.v.).

Habit and leaf form. Shrubs (Acharia), or herbs (Ceratiosicyos, Guthriea); non-laticiferous. Herbs with a basal aggregation of leaves (the stemless Guthriea), or without conspicuous aggregations of leaves. Self supporting, or climbing (Ceratiosicyos). Leaves alternate; non-sheathing; simple. Lamina dissected (lobed), or entire; sometimes acicular. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins crenate, or serrate.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral (with “about” one layer of palisade). Main veins embedded.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. Secondary thickening absent, or developing from a conventional cambial ring (?).

The vessel end-walls simple, or scalariform and simple. The axial xylem without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres; including septate fibres, or without septate fibres.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants monoecious. Gynoecium of male flowers absent.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’ (few flowered); when aggregated in fascicles and in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence units when determinable, racemose. Inflorescences few flowered, in fascicles or racemes. Flowers small to medium-sized; regular; 3–5 merous.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 6–10; 2 whorled. Calyx 3–5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous (at the base). Calyx lobes markedly longer than the tube. Calyx open in bud. Corolla 3–5; 1 whorled; gamopetalous. Degree of gamopetaly 0.75 (with a campanulate tube). Corolla valvate; regular.

Androecium in male flowers, 6–10. Androecial members adnate; markedly unequal (the staminodes shorter); free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium of male flowers including staminodes. Staminodes 3–5 (short, fleshy); internal to the fertile stamens. Stamens 3–5; inserted near the base of the corolla tube, or midway down the corolla tube to in the throat of the corolla tube; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous (the fertile members alternating with the petals). Anthers basifixed (the connective broadly expanded); non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium in female flowers 3–5 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious; superior. Ovary 1 locular; sessile. Styles attenuate from the ovary; apical; shorter than the ovary. Stigmas 3–5. Placentation parietal (with 3–5 placentas). Ovules in the single cavity 3–20; arillate.

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent. Dispersal unit the seed. Seeds endospermic. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight; small.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Aluminium accumulation not found.

Geography, cytology. Paleotropical and Cape. South Africa.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Violiflorae; Violales. Cronquist’s Subclass Dilleniidae; Violales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Malpighiales.

Species 3. Genera 3 (monotypics); Acharia, Ceratiosicyos, Guthriea.

Illustrations. • Technical details: Acharia (Hutchinson).


We advise against extracting comparative information from the descriptions. This is much more easily achieved using the DELTA data files or the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, distributions of character states within any set of taxa, geographical distribution, genera included in each family, and classifications (Dahlgren; Dahlgren, Clifford, and Yeo; Cronquist; APG). See also Guidelines for using data taken from Web publications.


Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Version: 19th October 2016. delta-intkey.com’.

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