DELTA home

The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Alzateaceae S. Graham

~ Crypteroniaceae, Lythraceae etc.

Habit and leaf form. Small trees, or shrubs (up to 20 m, with opposite or verticillate branches, these purple-red before peeling to become red-brown with age). (Hemi-) epiphytic, or self supporting. Mesophytic. Leaves opposite, or whorled (mostly clustered at the branch tips); flat; more or less leathery; shortly petiolate to sessile; not gland-dotted; simple. Lamina entire; oblong, or ovate, or obovate; pinnately veined (brochidodromous). Leaves stipulate. Stipules intrapetiolar (axillary). Lamina margins entire.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata present; anomocytic (to almost cyclocytic). Hairs absent. Adaxial hypodermis present. The mesophyll with sclerenchymatous idioblasts (these branched); containing crystals. The crystals druses.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Young stems tetragonal (at first), or cylindrical (subsequently). Cork cambium present; initially deep-seated (next to the perivascular sclerenchyma). Nodes tri-lacunar (with three traces). Primary vascular tissues in a cylinder, without separate bundles; bicollateral. Internal phloem present. Cortical bundles absent. Medullary bundles absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The vessel end-walls oblique; simple. The vessels with vestured pits. The axial xylem without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres; including septate fibres. The parenchyma scanty paratracheal. ‘Included’ phloem absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes, or in panicles. Inflorescences axillary (at the ends of the branches). Flowers ebracteolate; small; regular; 5 merous; cyclic. Free hypanthium present (short). Hypogynous disk present; intrastaminal.

Perianth sepaline; 5; 1 whorled; petaloid; persistent. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; polysepalous (on the hypanthium); regular; fleshy (becoming leathery); persistent; valvate.

Androecium 5. Androecial members free of the perianth (on the hypanthium); all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth; alternisepalous (i.e. alternating with the members of the single perianth whorl); filantherous (the filaments short and stout). Anthers dorsifixed; introrse; tetrasporangiate (the bisporangia horizontal on the broad terminal end of the anther on either side of the connective); massively appendaged. The anther appendages apical and dorsal (by dorsal enlargement and apical extension of the connective). Anther wall of the ‘dicot’ type. Pollen shed as single grains. Pollen grains aperturate; 6 aperturate; colpate and colporate (tricolporate, with subsidiary colpi); 2-celled.

Gynoecium 2 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 2 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; partly inferior (the floral tube hemi-epigynous). Ovary 2 locular (Graham 1984: previously interpreted by Lourteig (1965) as becoming falsely bilocular via false septa). Gynoecium shortly stylate. Styles 1; attenuate from the ovary; apical. Stigmas 1; capitate. Placentation parietal. Ovules 30–50 per locule (‘many’); horizontal; in two rows to each of the two placentas; bitegmic. Outer integument not contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Allium-type.

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule (indurated, compressed). Capsules loculicidal. Seeds non-endospermic; winged (the wing membranous, encircling the seed). Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight (central). Testa black.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Ellagic acid present.

Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Tropical. Tropical New World.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Myrtiflorae; Myrtales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Myrtales. APG III core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; malvid. APG IV Order Myrtales.

Species 1. Genera 1; only genus, Alzatea.

General remarks. See Graham 1984, Tobe and Raven 1984.

Illustrations. • A. verticillata: Ann. Miss. Bot. Gard. (1965). • Technical details, Alzatea: Fl. Peruvianae VII (1797).

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: 5th March 2018.’.