DELTA home

The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Flindersiaceae (Engl.) C.T. White & Airy Shaw

~ Meliaceae, Rutaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs; bearing essential oils. Mesophytic. Leaves alternate, or opposite; petiolate; non-sheathing; gland-dotted; aromatic; compound; pinnate, or ternate, or unifoliolate; exstipulate. Lamina margins of the leaflets entire. Leaf development not ‘graminaceous’.

Leaf anatomy. Mucilaginous epidermis often present. Lamina with secretory cavities. Secretory cavities containing oil.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secretory cavities present; with oil. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The vessels without vestured pits.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in panicles. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary. Flowers small; regular; 5 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Hypogynous disk present; annular (the disk large, cupular, crenate, enclosing the ovary).

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; polysepalous, or gamosepalous; regular; imbricate, or valvate. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; polypetalous (the petals sometimes adaxially hairy); imbricate; regular.

Androecium 10. Androecial members free of the perianth (sometimes ‘adnate to the disk’); 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens, or including staminodes. Staminodes when present, 5; internal to the fertile stamens (the members of the inner androecial whorl). Stamens 5, or 10; isomerous with the perianth, or diplostemonous; oppositisepalous; both alternating with and opposite the corolla members. Anthers dorsifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; sometimes with a produced connective. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled, or 5 carpelled. The pistil 2 celled, or 5 celled. Gynoecium apocarpous to syncarpous; semicarpous, or synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 3 locular, or 5 locular. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1; 5 lobed; peltate. Placentation axile. Ovules 2–8 per locule (biseriate); with ventral raphe; non-arillate; anatropous, or hemianatropous (?).

Fruit non-fleshy; not an aggregate, or an aggregate to not an aggregate; dehiscent; a capsule (woody). Capsules septicidal, or loculicidal. Seeds non-endospermic; compressed; winged. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo curved.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Cyanogenic. Saponins/sapogenins present, or absent. Proanthocyanidins present. Aluminium accumulation possibly demonstrated.

Geography, cytology. Sub-tropical to tropical. South India and Ceylon, East Malaysia, Eastern Australia, New Caledonia.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Rutiflorae; Rutales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Sapindales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; malvid; Order Sapindales (as a synonym of Rutaceae).

Species 17. Genera 2; Flindersia, Chloroxylon.

General remarks. This description differs from our sensu stricto compilation for Rutaceae in the staminodes internal to the fertile stamens, the capsular fruit, and the winged seeds.

Illustrations. • Chloroxylon swietenia: R. Wight (1840). • Chloroxylon swietenia (BHL: http://indiabiodiversity.org).


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’.

Contents