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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Blepharocaryaceae Airy Shaw

~ Anacardiaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Tall, buttressed trees. Leaves opposite; compound; pinnate (paripinnate, the leaflets opposite).

Leaf anatomy. Lamina probably with secretory cavities. Secretory cavities containing resin.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secretory cavities probably present; with resin. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The parenchyma paratracheal (sparse).

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male, or functionally female. Plants dioecious. Gynoecium of male flowers pistillodial.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in glomerules. Inflorescences (male and female) terminal and axillary; panicles of glomerules; with involucral bracts. Flowers minute; regular; 4–5 merous; cyclic.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 8, or 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 4, or 5; 1 whorled; shortly gamosepalous (male), or polysepalous (female); imbricate. Corolla 4 (male), or 4–5 (female); 1 whorled; polypetalous; imbricate.

Androecium in males 8 (4+4). Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 8; isomerous with the perianth.

Gynoecium in female flowers 1 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium monomerous; of one carpel; superior. Carpel 1 ovuled.

Fruit non-fleshy. The fruiting carpel indehiscent. Dispersal unit the inflorescence (the ultimate branches of which are concrescent, forming a many-valved, woody, bracteate cupule — cf. Castanea). Seeds non-endospermic.

Geography, cytology. Australian. Tropical. Northern and Eastern Australia.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Rutiflorae; Sapindales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Sapindales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; malvid; Order Sapindales (as a synonym of Anacardiaceae).

Species 2. Genera 1; only genus, Blepharocarya.

General remarks. This description is deficient (not only in ‘esoteric characters’), but it differs from our compilation for Anacardiaceae (q.v.) in the opposite leaves, the inflorescence with involucral bracts, and the monomerous gynoecium (floral morphological comparisons otherwise being much complicated by dioecism and monoecism).

Illustrations. • Blepharocarya involucrigera: Banks & Solander, Illustrations of the Botany of Cook’s Voyage 1768–71, vol. 1 (1900).


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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