The families of flowering plants
Habit and leaf form. Lianas (with dichotomous branching from sympodial rhizomes). Perennial; without conspicuous aggregations of leaves; rhizomatous (these sympodial). High climbing (the stems canelike); tendril climbers (the tendrils representing modification of the lamina tips). Stem growth conspicuously sympodial (frequently with equal dichotomies above). Mesophytic. Leaves alternate; distichous; petiolate; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with joined margins. Leaves simple. Lamina entire; lanceolate; parallel-veined; without cross-venules. Leaves eligulate. Lamina margins entire. Leaf development graminaceous. Vernation convolute (below), or coiled inwards from the tip (at the tips); apically circinnate.
General anatomy. Plants with silica bodies (globose, in the fibrous tissue associated with the vascular bundles). Chlorenchyma without peg cells.
Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral, or bifacial. Epidermis without differentiation into long and short cells; without silica bodies. Guard-cells grass type. Lamina with secretory cavities (in the mesophyll). The mesophyll without crystals (? no raphides). Foliar vessels present; with scalariform end-walls and with simple end-wall perforations (mostly scalariform).
Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Young stems cylindrical; with solid internodes. Secretory cavities absent. Cork cambium absent. Secondary thickening absent.
The vessel end-walls scalariform and simple (mostly simple).
Reproductive type, pollination. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries absent (nectaries lacking). Pollination probably anemophilous.
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in inflorescences; in panicles; not in spikelets. Inflorescences terminal; panicles. Flowers bracteate; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube absent. Hypogynous disk absent.
Perianth of tepals; 6; free; 2 whorled (3+3); isomerous; petaloid; similar in the two whorls (equal or subequal); white.
Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens, or including staminodes. Staminodes 1–3 (?). Stamens (3–)6; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth to diplostemonous. Anthers sagittate basifixed; non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; latrorse; tetrasporangiate. The endothecial thickenings girdling. Microsporogenesis successive. The initial microspore tetrads isobilateral, or linear. Pollen grains aperturate; 1 aperturate; ulcerate. The ulcus without an operculum (or this vestigial, represented by coarse granules or exine fragments); with an annulus. Interapertural exine scrobiculate. Interapertural interstitium columellate. Pollen grains 2-celled.
Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious; superior. Ovary 2 locular. Styles 3 (sometimes connate basally); free, or partially joined; apical. Stigmas 3 (the styles stigmatic for almost their entire lengths); dry type; papillate; Group II type. Placentation axile. Ovules 1 per locule; pendulous; non-arillate; orthotropous; crassinucellate. Outer integument not contributing to the micropyle (?). Embryo-sac development Allium-type. Antipodal cells formed; 3; not proliferating. Synergids non-haustorial. Embryogeny onagrad, or asterad.
Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a drupe (red or black). The drupes with one stone. Seeds copiously endospermic. Endosperm not oily (starchy). Seeds with starch. Embryo rudimentary at the time of seed release (minute, capping the endosperm). Testa without phytomelan; membranous.
Physiology, phytochemistry. Accumulated starch other than exclusively pteridophyte type. Alkaloids present, or absent (2 species examined). Proanthocyanidins absent. Flavonols present; kaempferol. Ellagic acid absent. Sieve-tube plastids P-type; type II.
Geography, cytology. Sub-tropical to tropical. Africa, southeast Asia and Malaysia, northeast Australia. 2n = 38.
Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Commeliniflorae; Poales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; commelinid Monocot; Order Poales.
Species 4. Genera 1; only genus, Flagellaria.
Illustrations. • F. gigantea: Hook. Ic. Pl. 15 (1883). • Flagellaria indica (with Joinvillea plicata): Nat. Pflanzenfam. II (1895).
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: 13th March 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.