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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Berberidopsidaceae (Veldkamp) Takhtajan

~ Flacourtiaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Lianas. Climbing. Mesophytic, or xerophytic (?). Leaves small to medium-sized; alternate; spiral; flat; ‘herbaceous’ (thin and soft in the Australian representatives), or leathery (and holly-like, in the Chilean one); petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Lamina entire; ovate; pinnately veined, or palmately veined (basally, in B. beckleri). Lamina margins entire, or dentate (prickly, in B. corallina). Leaf development not ‘graminaceous’. Domatia occurring in the family (recorded in B. beckleri only, in the axils of the midvein and lowest pair of secondary veins).

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata present; paracytic (at least in in B. corallina). The mesophyll containing crystals. The crystals druses. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Pith homogeneous, or heterogeneous. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring (in B. corallina).

The vessel end-walls oblique; simple. The parenchyma in B. corallina,absent or paratracheal.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. Inflorescences when aggregated, terminal, or axillary. Flowers small; regular; partially acyclic. The perianth acyclic (B. corallina), or the perianth acyclic and the androecium acyclic. Free hypanthium absent.

Perianth sequentially intergrading from sepals to petals, or petaline, or of ‘tepals’; 15–18 (in B. beckleri); petaloid; cream and pink (S. moorei), or white and pink (B. beckleri), or red; (or its outer members) persistent (around the base of the fruit). Calyx (i.e., the outer perianth members) persistent. Corolla regular; white (to cream), or red to pink, or red. Petals sessile.

Androecium 5 (B. corallina), or 12–13 (B. beckleri), or 50–75 (S. moorei). Androecial members free of the perianth. Stamens 5, or 12–75; filantherous (S. moorei), or with sessile anthers (B. corallina, and more or less so in B. beckleri).

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 1 locular. Placentation parietal. Ovules in the single cavity 20–50 (‘many’); almost orthotropous, or hemianatropous.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry; many seeded. Seeds endospermic.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Proanthocyanidins present.

Geography, cytology. Neotropical and Australian. Temperate to tropical. Chile (B. corallina) and Eastern Australia (B. beckleri and S. moorei).

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

Species 3. Genera 2; Berberidopsis and Streptothamnus.

General remarks. This first draft attempt at compiling a description of a recently resurrected little family is inadequate for general morphology, and lacks information on anther development, pollen, embryology, anatomy and phytochemistry.

Illustrations. • Technical details: Berberidopsis. • Berberidopsis corallina: Bot. Mag. (1862).


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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