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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Cardiopterigaceae Blume corr. Van Tiegh.

Alternatively Cardiopterideae (Cardiopteridaceae) Blume, Peripterygiaceae F.N. Williams

Including Leptaulaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Scandent herbs; laticiferous. Climbing; stem twiners. Leaves alternate; spiral; membranous; petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Lamina dissected, or entire; when dissected, palmatifid; palmately veined; cross-venulate; cordate. Leaves exstipulate; leaf development not ‘graminaceous’.

General anatomy. Plants with laticifers. The laticifers in leaves.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The vessel end-walls horizontal; simple.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite, or andromonoecious, or gynomonoecious, or androdioecious, or gynodioecious, or polygamomonoecious (? — hermaphrodite or ‘polygamous’).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes (more or less scorpioid). The ultimate inflorescence units cymose. Inflorescences axillary; branched, more or less scorpioid cymes. Flowers ebracteate; ebracteolate; very small; regular; (4–)5 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; (8–)10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx (4–)5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous; regular; imbricate. Corolla (4–)5; 1 whorled; gamopetalous; imbricate; regular.

Androecium (4–)5. Androecial members adnate (epipetalous); free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens (4–)5; inserted midway down the corolla tube, or in the throat of the corolla tube; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate (colporoidate).

Gynoecium 2 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious; superior. Ovary unilocular; 1 locular. Styles 2; dissimilar, free. Stigmas 2. Placentation apical. Ovules in the single cavity 2; pendulous.

Fruit non-fleshy; indehiscent (flat); a samara (2-winged). Dispersal unit the fruit. Seeds endospermic. Embryo well differentiated (but tiny).

Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Aluminium accumulation not found.

Geography, cytology. Paleotropical and Australian. Temperate to sub-tropical. Southeast Asia and Australia, Leptaulus in tropical Africa and Madagascar.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli (? — gamopetalous, with adnate androecium). Dahlgren’s Superorder Santaliflorae; Celastrales (?). Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Celastrales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; campanulid; Order Aquifoliales.

Species 8 (including Leptaulus). Genera 2; Peripterygium (Cardiopteris), Leptaulus (only recently assigned here).

General remarks. This description does not yet account for the recently included Leptaulus.

Illustrations. • Leptaulus daphnoides: Hook. Ic. Pl. 24 (1895). • Technical details: Peripterygium (Hutchinson). • Cardiopteris molucanna, and C. quinqueloba as javanica: Blume, Rumphia 4 (1841).


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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