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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Goupiaceae Miers

~ Celastraceae.

Habit and leaf form. Small to very large trees, or shrubs. Leaves alternate; shining, leathery; petiolate (the petiole with complex and unusual vascularization, cf. Metcalfe and Chalk); not gland-dotted; simple. Lamina entire; pinnately veined to palmately veined (subtriplinerved); transversely cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate. Stipules caducous (narrow and rather long). Lamina margins entire, or dentate (in seedlings). Domatia never explicitly mentioned for the family.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata present; mainly confined to one surface (abaxial); anomocytic. Hairs present (sparse); eglandular; unicellular. Unicellular hairs short and relatively thick-walled, simple. Complex hairs absent. The mesophyll with sclerenchymatous idioblasts (these branched); containing crystals. The crystals druses.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secretory cavities absent. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. 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 diffuse porous. The vessels small; exclusively solitary. The vessel end-walls scalariform. The vessels without vestured pits; without spiral thickening. The axial xylem with tracheids; with vasicentric tracheids; with fibre tracheids; without septate fibres. The fibres without spiral thickening. The parenchyma apotracheal and paratracheal. ‘Included’ phloem absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. The ultimate inflorescence units racemose. Inflorescences axillary; pedunculate, umbel-like clusters of very short racemes. Flowers bracteate; regular; 5 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present; intrastaminal; annular (sinuous cupular).

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous (small); five blunt-lobed; regular; imbricate. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; polypetalous (the petals very long, linear-elongate lanceolate, concave, the upper third sharply inflexed in the bud and remaining sigmoid or geniculate at anthesis); induplicate valvate; yellow and red (red at the base).

Androecium 5. Androecial members free of the perianth; all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous; alternating with the corolla members; filantherous (but the filaments extremely short). Anthers adnate (the loculi short, somewhat separated); non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; having the thickened connective setose-pilose with deflexed or spreading hairs. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colpate, or colporate (col(por)oidate).

Gynoecium 5 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 5 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious; superior (but partly enclosed by the disk). Ovary 5 locular (depressed-globose). Gynoecium stylate. Styles 5; free; apical (divergent, subulate); shorter than the ovary. Placentation basal to axile (at the inner angle). Ovules 7–50 per locule (several or ‘many’); ascending; bitegmic.

Fruit small, hard; indehiscent; a drupe (2–3 locular, berrylike); many seeded. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm fleshy. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight (axile). Testa slightly reticulate, pitted inside.

Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Tropical. Guiana, North Brazil.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Santaliflorae; Celastrales (?). Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Celastrales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Malpighiales.

Species 3. Genera 1; only genus, Goupia.

General remarks. Seemingly differing from Celastraceae sensu stricto (q.v.) only in the free styles.

Illustrations. • Technical details: Goupia (Hutchinson). • Goupia glabra: Hook. Ic. Pl. 16 (1887).


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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