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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Argophyllaceae (Engl.) A. Takhtadzhyan

~ Variously Brexiaceae, Escalloniaceae, Cornaceae in older treatments

Including Corokiaceae

Habit and leaf form. Small trees, or shrubs. Leaves alternate (and in 3–4 leaved fasicles on short-shoots); simple. Lamina entire; linear, or oblong, or ovate to obovate, or lanceolate, or oblanceolate. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins entire, or serrate.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata in Argophyllum very small and almost circular in outline, cf. other Escalloniaceae sensu lato. Hairs present (T-shaped); multicellular. Adaxial hypodermis present. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Corokia).

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. Nodes unilacunar (C. virgata), or tri-lacunar (mostly), or penta-lacunar (A. laxum). Primary vascular tissues in a cylinder, without separate bundles; collateral. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring (?).

The wood semi-ring porous, or diffuse porous. The vessel end-walls scalariform.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; when aggregated, in racemes, or in panicles, or in fascicles. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary; panicles or racemes, sometimes few-flowered fascicles. Flowers regular; mostly 5 merous; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10, or 16; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 2, or 8; 1 whorled; shortly gamosepalous; blunt-lobed, or toothed. Calyx lobes markedly longer than the tube. Calyx regular; persistent; imbricate. Corolla 5, or 8; 1 whorled; appendiculate (with adaxial fringed appendages - coralline ligules); polypetalous, or gamopetalous (then joined only basally). Corolla lobes when gamopetalous, markedly longer than the tube. Corolla imbricate; regular; white, or yellow.

Androecium 5, or 8. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5, or 8; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous; alternating with the corolla members; filantherous.

Gynoecium 2–6 carpelled (?). Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 1–3 celled, or 6 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; partly inferior to inferior. Ovary 1–3 locular, or 6 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1. Stigmas 1; 2–5 lobed; capitate. Placentation when unilocular, parietal; usually axile. Ovules 1–50 per locule (‘to many’); anatropous.

Fruit dehiscent; a capsule, or a drupe. Capsules loculicidal. Seeds endospermic (the endosperm fleshy); ovate or linear-elongate. Embryo well differentiated (minute or elongate). Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight (?).

Geography, cytology. Australian, Paleotropical, and Antarctic. Temperate to tropical. Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Polynesia, Rapa Island.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli (?). Dahlgren’s Superorder Corniflorae; Cornales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Rosales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; campanulid; Order Asterales.

Species about 20. Genera 2; Argophyllum and Corokia.

Quotations This description lacks data on taxonomically informative “esoteric characters” (anther development, embryology, phytochemistry, etc.); and the morphology needs pursuing further with special reference to features diagnostic for Escalloniaceae sensu lato.

Illustrations. • Corokia buddleioides: Hook. Ic. Pl. 5–6 (1842–3). • Corokia cotoneaster: Curtis Bot. Mag. 138 (1912). • Corokia cotoneaster: flower structure (with Curtisia: Das Pflanzenreich, 1910). • Two-armed foliar trichomes of Corokia cotoneaster and C. buddleioides, with anatomical details of Alangiaceae, Cornaceae and Nyssaceae: Solereder, 1908.


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: 24th October 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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