The families of flowering plants
~ Lecythidaceae or Scytopetalaceae
Habit and leaf form. Trees. Leaves alternate; spiral, or distichous (?); leathery; not gland-dotted; simple. Lamina entire. Leaves stipulate. Stipules free of one another; caducous (and minute). Lamina margins entire.
General anatomy. Plants with silica bodies (?).
Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; mainly confined to one surface (abaxial); anisocytic.
Lamina dorsiventral, or isobilateral. The mesophyll with sclerencymatous idioblasts.
Stem anatomy. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. The cortex without cristarque cells. Cortical bundles present (with normal orientation). Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. Vessel end-walls scalariform, or simple.
Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary; axillary; large; regular. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present (large, plicate, dentate, membranous, representing connate staminodes); extrastaminal.
Perianth sepaline (the anthoecial tube within it constituting a pseudocorolla); disciform; joined; 1 whorled. Calyx disciform; 1 whorled; gamosepalous (leathery); entire, or lobulate to blunt-lobed (by tearing during anthesis); persistent; accrescent (constituting a flotation device for the fruit).
Androecium 50–100 (or more). Androecial members branched, or unbranched (?); maturing centrifugally; free of the perianth; coherent (the filaments of the stamens adnate basally to one another and to the pseudocorolla); 2 whorled (comprising an outer staminodal whorl, and the stamens in a single, dense ring, not resolvable into series). Androecium including staminodes. Staminodes 24–28 (connate); external to the fertile stamens; petaloid (connate to form the large, membranous, plicate pseudocorolla, which opens umbrella-like at anthesis). Stamens 40–100 (?many); polystemonous; filantherous (the filaments slender). Anthers basifixed; non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colpate (colpate).
Gynoecium 6–8 carpelled. The pistil 6–8 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; partly inferior. Ovary 6–8 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1 (filiform); attenuate from the ovary; apical; about as long as the ovary to much longer than the ovary. Stigmas 1; 6–8 lobed; capitate. Placentation axile to apical. Ovules (3–)4(–6) per locule; funicled; pendulous to horizontal; anatropous; bitegmic; tenuinucellate.
Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent, or indehiscent; a capsule, or capsular-indehiscent. Capsules loculicidal (68 valved and ribbed, pyramidal, crustaceous, surrounded by the persistent calyx). Seeds copiously endospermic. Endosperm ruminate. Seeds without starch. Seeds with amyloid. Cotyledons 2 (but small and reduced). Embryo straight to curved (somewhat hooked).
Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Tropical. Northern Brazil.
Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgrens Superorder Theiflorae; Theales. Cronquists Subclass Dilleniidae; Lecythidales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae (presumably); Order unassigned to Order (as a synonym of Lecythidaceae).
Species 1. Genera 1; only genus, Asteranthos.
General remarks. Appel (1966) favoured inclusion of Asteranthos in Scytopetalaceae rather than Lecythidaceae. Morton et al. (1998) refered it to subfamily Scytopetaloideae of their expanded Lecythidaceae, based on an assessment using both molecular and morphological data.
This description is offered for casual browsing only. We strongly advise against extracting comparative information from it. This is much more easily achieved using 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).
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 December 2012. http://delta-intkey.com’.