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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Eremolepidaceae Van Tiegh.

~ Loranthaceae, Santalaceae.

Including Lepidocerataceae Van Tiegh.

Habit and leaf form. Shrubs. ‘Normal’ plants, or switch-plants (Eubrachion); switch forms with the principal photosynthesizing function transferred to stems (?). Leaves well developed, or much reduced. Plants with roots (often, epicortical and ephemeral), or rootless (with haustoria); partially parasitic. Parasitic on aerial parts of the host (on tree branches, the haustoria at least in Antidaphne anatomically more complex than in Santalaceae and Viscaceae). Leaves alternate; leathery, or membranous (Eubrachion); simple. Lamina entire. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins entire.

Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; paracytic (Antidaphne). Adaxial hypodermis present (in Antidaphne and Eremolepis), or absent.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Primary vascular tissues in a cylinder, without separate bundles (in Lepidoceras). Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male, or functionally female, or functionally male and functionally female. Plants monoecious, or dioecious.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in spikes, or in catkins. Inflorescences bracteate spikes or catkins of mostly sessile flowers. Flowers bracteate (the bracts imbricate, often deciduous). Free hypanthium absent.

Perianth sepaline, or of ‘tepals’, or absent (sometimes in male flowers of Antidaphne); 2–4 (or none, in male flowers), or 2–3 (in female flowers); free; 1 whorled; sepaloid.

Androecium 3–4. Androecial members free of the perianth; all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium in male flowers, exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 3–4; isomerous with the perianth; opposite the tepals, when these present. Anthers dehiscing via short slits (these terminal); bilocular; tetrasporangiate. Pollen shed as single grains. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled, or 5 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth, or increased in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious, or synstylovarious, or eu-syncarpous (???); partly inferior, or inferior (flowers epigynous or (Antidaphne) semi-epigynous). Ovary 1 locular. Placentation basal (the ovules embedded in the basal placenta). Ovules more or less not differentiated (consisting of a bisporic, 8-nucleate embryo-sac, without clearly defined nucellus and integument); in the single cavity 2; without integuments. Embryogeny complex and unusual, the embryo with short or no suspensor.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry (with viscid tissue, without staminodial bristles); 1 seeded. Seeds endospermic (the endosperm chlorophyllous); without a testa (surrounded or capped by viscid tissue). Embryo well differentiated (rather large). Cotyledons 2. Embryo chlorophyllous.

Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Tropical. Tropical South America, West Indies. N = 10, 13.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Santaliflorae; Santalales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Santalales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Santalanae; Order Santalales (as a synonym of Santalaceae).

Species 12. Genera 4; Antidaphne, Eremolepis, Eubrachion, Lepidoceras.

General remarks. See Kuijt 1968, Wiens and Barlow 1971. Our description of this segregate lacks anatomical data, and differs from that of Santalaceae (q.v.) only in the fleshier fruit, the chlorophyllous embryo and (in terms of data relying on limited sampling) the absence of polyacetylenes.

Illustrations. • Antidaphne punctulata and A. schottii (as Eremolepis): Nat. Pflanzenfam. III (1889). • Eubrachion ambiguum (as E. brasiliense): Nat. Pflanzenfam. III (1889).


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: 20th July 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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