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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Corynocarpaceae Engl.

Habit and leaf form. Trees (to about 10 m high), or shrubs. Leaves alternate; spiral; leathery; non-sheathing; simple. Lamina entire. Leaves stipulate, or exstipulate. Stipules intrapetiolar; caducous. Lamina margins entire. Leaf development not ‘graminaceous’.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata present; mainly confined to one surface (abaxial); paracytic. Hairs present (at least in C. laevigatus); eglandular; multicellular (globular multicellular, deciduous). Adaxial hypodermis present. Lamina without secretory cavities. The mesophyll containing crystals. The crystals druses. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secretory cavities absent. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. Primary vascular tissues comprising a ring of bundles (with broad lignified rays between the xylem strands); collateral. Internal phloem absent. Cortical bundles absent. Medullary bundles absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. Primary medullary rays wide.

The wood diffuse porous. The vessels moderately small; mostly radially paired, in radial multiples, and clustered. The vessel end-walls horizontal; simple. The vessels without vestured pits; with spiral thickening (but this faint). The axial xylem without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres; without septate fibres. The fibres without spiral thickening. The parenchyma probably apotracheal; wood partially storied (VP).

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in panicles and in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence units racemose. Inflorescences terminal. Flowers regular; 5 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Free hypanthium present (short, the petals ‘fused to the base of the sepals’). Hypogynous disk present; of separate members (these 5).

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; polysepalous; regular; much imbricate. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; polypetalous; imbricate; regular.

Androecium 10. Androecial members adnate (to the base of the corolla); free of one another. Androecium including staminodes. Staminodes 5; external to the fertile stamens, or in the same series as the fertile stamens; petaloid (alternating with the fertile members). Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth; alternisepalous; opposite the corolla members. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits. Pollen grains aperturate; 2 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 2 carpelled. The pistil 1–2 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous (but one carpel more or less reduced, so that the ovary becomes pseudomonomerous); synovarious; superior. Ovary 1 locular, or 2 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1, or 2; (when two) free; apical. Placentation when unilocular, apical; when bilocular, apical. Ovules in the single cavity when unilocular, 1; when bilocular, 1 per locule; pendulous; non-arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Outer integument not contributing to the micropyle. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells formed; proliferating (with up to 8 cells). Endosperm formation nuclear. Embryogeny probably caryophyllad.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a drupe. The drupes with one stone. Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds non-endospermic. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2 (large, thickened). Embryo straight.

Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Saponins/sapogenins absent. Proanthocyanidins absent. Flavonols present; kaempferol. Ellagic acid present.

Geography, cytology. Sub-tropical to tropical. Malaysia, Northern Australia, North Island New Zealand. 2n = 44.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Santaliflorae; Celastrales (?). Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Celastrales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Cucurbitales.

Species 5. Genera 1; only genus, Corynocarpus.

Illustrations. • Corynocarpus laevigata: Bot. Mag. 74 (1848). • Corynocarpus laevigata (Hutchinson).


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: 24th October 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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