DELTA home

The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Eucryphiaceae Endl.

~ Cunoniaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Southern hemisphere trees and shrubs. Mesophytic. Leaves evergreen; opposite; leathery; petiolate; simple, or compound; when compound pinnate, or ternate. Lamina when simple dissected, or entire; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate. Stipules interpetiolar; caducous. Leaf development not ‘graminaceous’.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata present; mainly confined to one surface (abaxial); where recorded, paracytic. Hairs present (infrequent); eglandular; short, thick-walled, unicellular. Unicellular hairs simple. Complex hairs absent. Lamina without secretory cavities. The mesophyll containing crystals. The crystals druses and solitary-prismatic. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Pith characteristically quadrangular, heterogeneous. Secretory cavities absent. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. Nodes tri-lacunar. Primary vascular tissues in a cylinder, without separate bundles; collateral. Internal phloem absent. Cortical bundles absent. Medullary bundles absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The wood semi-ring porous to diffuse porous. The vessels very to moderately small; solitary, radially paired, in radial multiples, and clustered (but mostly solitary). The vessel end-walls scalariform, or scalariform and simple. The vessels without vestured pits; with spiral thickening, or without spiral thickening. The axial xylem with tracheids, or without tracheids; with fibre tracheids, or without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres, or without libriform fibres; without septate fibres. The fibres without spiral thickening. The parenchyma diffuse apotracheal. The secondary phloem not stratified. ‘Included’ phloem absent. Tile cells absent. The wood not storied.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite. Pollination entomophilous.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary; axillary; ebracteolate; large; calyptrate; regular; partially acyclic. The androecium acyclic. Floral receptacle developing an androphore. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 8(–10); 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 4 (rarely 5); 1 whorled; polysepalous (basally), or gamosepalous (in the sense of cohering apically); regular; not persistent (the members apically cohering); calyptrate; imbricate (leathery). Corolla 4 (rarely 5); 1 whorled; polypetalous; imbricate; regular; white.

Androecium 20–100 (i.e. ‘many’). Androecial members branched (originating from a limited number of ‘trunk bundles’ on the receptacle); maturing centripetally; free of the perianth; all equal; free of one another; ‘multiseriate’. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 20–100; polystemonous. Anthers dorsifixed (orbicular); versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; latrorse. Pollen grains aperturate; 2 aperturate; (syn) colpate; 2-celled.

Gynoecium 4–14(–18) carpelled. The pistil 4–14(–18) celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious; superior. Ovary 4–14(–18) locular. Styles 4–14(–18); free to partially joined; apical. Stigmas dry type; non-papillate; Group II type. Placentation axile. Ovules 15–50 per locule (i.e. ‘many’, biseriate in each loculus); pendulous; non-arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate.

Fruit non-fleshy (woody or leathery); dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules septicidal and valvular. Seeds copiously endospermic; winged. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2 (leafy).

Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Iridoids not detected. Proanthocyanidins present; cyanidin. Flavonols absent. Ellagic acid absent. Aluminium accumulation not found. Sieve-tube plastids P-type; type I (b).

Geography, cytology. Temperate. Chile and Southeast Australia. X = 15, 16.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Rosiflorae; Cunoniales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Rosales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Oxalidales (as a synonym of Cunoniaceae).

Species 5. Genera 1; only genus, Eucryphia.

General remarks. This description differs from that of Cunoniaceae sensu stricto (q.v.) in nine morphological characters, as well as a phytochemical one (flavonols).

Economic uses, etc. The endemic Tasmanian rainforest species, E. lucida (Leatherwood), is well known as a source of superb honey.

Illustrations. • Eucryphia pinnatifolia: Bot Mag. 95 (1869). • Eucryphia milliganii: Hooker, Fl. Tasmaniae (1860). • Eucryphia milliganii: Bot Mag. 117 (1891). • Eucryphia cordifolia: Bot Mag. 134 (1908). • Eucryphia spp. (Chittenden). • Technical details: Eucryphia (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: 19th October 2016.’.