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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Anisophylleaceae (Schimp.) Ridl.

Including Polygonanthaceae (Croiz.) Croiz.

Habit and leaf form. Trees and shrubs (of wet primary forest, with some mangroves). Helophytic. Heterophyllous (anisophyllous, ‘or with reduced stipular homologues’), or not heterophyllous (Combretocarpus). Leaves alternate; spiral, or distichous, or four-ranked (Anisophyllea); simple. Lamina entire; palmately veined (3–5 plinerved). Leaves exstipulate.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral to centric.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Primary vascular tissues in a cylinder, without separate bundles; collateral. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. Primary medullary rays mixed wide and narrow.

The wood diffuse porous. The vessels large; solitary, or solitary, radially paired, in radial multiples, and clustered. The vessel end-walls simple. The vessels without vestured pits. The axial xylem with tracheids, or without tracheids; commonly with vasicentric tracheids; with fibre tracheids, or without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres, or without libriform fibres. The parenchyma apotracheal to paratracheal.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants monoecious (mostly), or hermaphrodite (Combretocarpus); viviparous, or not viviparous.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’, or solitary (rarely); when solitary, axillary; when aggregated, in racemes and in panicles. The ultimate inflorescence units when flowers aggregated cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences axillary; axillary racemes or panicles on leafless shoots. Flowers regular; (2–)3 merous, or 4(–5) merous.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 6–10(–32); 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx (3–)4(–16); 1 whorled; polysepalous; persistent; valvate. Corolla (3–)4(–16); 1 whorled; polypetalous; valvate. Petals clawed; lobed or laciniate, except in Polygonanthus.

Androecium 8. Androecial members free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens, or including staminodes (sometimes with several stamens barren). Stamens 8; diplostemonous; inflexed in bud. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Pollen shed in aggregates, or shed as single grains (?); at least sometimes in tetrads. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate (to colporoidate).

Gynoecium (3–)4 carpelled. The pistil (3–)4 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious; inferior. Ovary (3–)4 locular. Epigynous disk present (crenate). Gynoecium stylate. Styles (3–)4; free. Stigmas (3–)4. Placentation apical. Ovules 1 per locule, or 2 per locule; pendulous; arillate, or non-arillate; anatropous.

Fruit fleshy, or non-fleshy; dehiscent, or indehiscent; a capsule and a samara (Combretocarpus), or a drupe; usually 1 seeded (usually), or 3–4 seeded (Poga). Seeds non-endospermic; winged, or wingless. Cotyledons reduced, 0, or 2.

Seedling. Germination cryptocotylar.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Saponins/sapogenins absent. Aluminium accumulation demonstrated (very commonly).

Geography, cytology. Tropical. Tropical, widespread.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli (? — polypetalous, exstipulate, but no embryology). Dahlgren’s Superorder Corniflorae; Cornales (?). Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Rosales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Cucurbitales.

Species 36. Genera 4; Anisophyllea, Combretocarpus, Poga, Polygonanthus.

Illustrations. • Technical details: Anisophyllea (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: 13th March 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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