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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Bischofiaceae (Muell. Arg.) Airy Shaw

~ Euphorbiaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Large trees. Leaves deciduous; alternate; petiolate; compound; ternate, or pinnate (3(–5) foliolate). Lamina pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate. Stipules scaly (membranous); caducous. Domatia never explicitly mentioned for the family.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. The vessel end-walls scalariform and simple.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants monoecious (rarely), or dioecious. Female flowers with staminodes (minute), or without staminodes. Gynoecium of male flowers in the form of a broad, peltate, shortly stipitate pistillode.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. The ultimate inflorescence units cymose. Inflorescences axillary; many flowered thyrses. Flowers small. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth sepaline (corolla lacking); 5; 1 whorled. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; polysepalous; imbricate (in female flowers), or valvate (induplicate, in male flowers).

Androecium 5. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous (and enclosed by them); very shortly filantherous (the anthers large). Anthers introrse.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious; superior. Ovary 3 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1 (short); apical. Stigmas 3 (these elongate, linear-subulate, spreading or reflexed). Ovules 2 per locule; pendulous.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a drupe (small, globose, with horny endocarp); 3–6 seeded. Seeds endospermic.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic and Paleotropical. Tropical. Tropical Asia.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Malviflorae; Euphorbiales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Euphorbiales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Malpighiales (as a synonym of Euphorbiaceae).

Species 2. Genera 1; only genus, Bischofia.

General remarks. This attempted description differs from our compilation for Euphorbiaceae in only the single style and (hardly convincingly) in the ternate or pinnate leaves; but according to Airy Shaw (a genuine expert in this circle of affinity), “Long included in Euphorbiaceae, but connection with (that family) probably illusory”.

Illustrations. • Bischofia javanica, as B. trifololiata: Hook. Ic. Pl. 9 (1852). • Technical details: Bischoffia.


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: 12th September 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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