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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Glaucidiaceae (Himmelb.) Tamura

~ Paeoniaceae, Ranunculaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs. Perennial; rhizomatous (the rhizome short and thick, the stem unbranched, with only two or three leaves). Mesophytic. Leaves alternate; petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Lamina dissected; palmatifid; palmately veined; cross-venulate; cordate. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins serrate, or dentate.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Primary vascular tissues comprising two or more rings of bundles (two rings). Medullary bundles present. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring (in the rhizome).

The vessel end-walls scalariform, or reticulately perforated.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary; terminal; large; regular; partially acyclic. The androecium acyclic. Free hypanthium present. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth sepaline, or petaline, or of ‘tepals’ (usually described as having petaloid sepals and no corolla); 4; free; (if considered ‘of tepals’) petaloid; persistent. Calyx 4; polysepalous; persistent.

Androecium 350–500 (very numerous). Androecial members branched; maturing centrifugally; free of the perianth; free of one another; spiralled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 20–200 (very numerous); polystemonous; filantherous. Anthers tetrasporangiate. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate.

Gynoecium usually 2 carpelled (opposite the outer perianth members). The pistil 2 celled (below). Gynoecium apocarpous to syncarpous; semicarpous (the carpels united in the lower third); superior. Carpel 15–20 ovuled (‘many’). Placentation marginal. Ovary usually 2 locular (below). Ovules bitegmic; crassinucellate.

Fruit non-fleshy. The fruiting carpel dehiscent; a follicle (dehiscing along both dorsal and vental sutures). Seeds endospermic; winged (and compressed). Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Alkaloids absent. Sieve-tube plastids S-type.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic. Temperate. Japan. N = 10.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Ranunculiflorae; Ranunculales. Cronquist’s Subclass Magnoliidae; Ranunculales. APG 3 core angiosperms; peripheral eudicot; Superorder Ranunculanae; Order Ranunculales (as a synonym of Ranunculaceae).

Species 1. Genera 1; only genus, Glaucidium.

General remarks. These compiled descriptions exhibit 12 differences between this one and that of Ranunculaceae (q.v.), ten of them general morphological and two stem-anatomical; and differences from Paeoniaceae in habit, leaf form, and floral, fruit and seed morphology. See Tamura 1972, Bot. Mag. Tokyo 85, 40 et seq.

Illustrations. • Glaucidium (Chittenden).


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: 12th September 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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