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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Griseliniaceae (Wangerin) Takht.

~ Cornaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Glabrous trees, or shrubs, or lianas. Self supporting, or epiphytic, or climbing. Leaves alternate (the axillary buds sometimes becoming much displaced); spiral; leathery (thick, glabrous); petiolate; sheathing to non-sheathing (subvaginate); not gland-dotted; simple. Lamina conspicuously asymmetric, or not conspicuously asymmetric. Leaves exstipulate (but the petole base sometimes prolonged upwards into a short, ligule-like process). Vegetative buds scaly.

General anatomy. Plants without ‘crystal sand’.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral (the palisade 2-layered). Stomata present; mainly confined to one surface (the lower); cyclocytic. Hairs absent (leaves glabrous). Adaxial hypodermis present. Lamina without secretory cavities. The mesophyll with sclerenchymatous idioblasts; containing crystals. The crystals druses (numerous). Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secretory cavities absent. Cork cambium present; initially superficial. Nodes tri-lacunar, or multilacunar. 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. Primary medullary rays mixed wide and narrow, or narrow.

The wood diffuse porous. The vessels moderately to very small. The vessel end-walls horizontal; scalariform. The axial xylem with fibre tracheids; without septate fibres. The fibres without spiral thickening. The parenchyma apotracheal.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male, or functionally female. Plants dioecious. Gynoecium of male flowers absent.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes, or in panicles; small; regular. Free hypanthium present (the petals ‘inserted on the calyx’).

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla (male, female), or sepaline (female flowers sometimes apetalous); 5, or 10; 1 whorled, or 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx of both male and female flowers 5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous (minute in male flowers, with an ovoid tube in females); regular. Corolla in male flowers, and when present in females, 5; 1 whorled; polypetalous; (sub) imbricate; regular.

Androecium in male flowers, 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. Anthers dorsifixed; versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Pollen shed as single grains. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous (but pseudomonomerous); synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; inferior. Ovary 1 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 3; free, or partially joined; short. Stigmas 3. Placentation apical. Ovules pendulous; anatropous.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry; 1 seeded (ovoid, unilocular). Seeds copiously endospermic. Embryo minute.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Iridoids detected (giselinoside); ‘Route I’ type (‘normal’). Proanthocyanidins absent. Ellagic acid absent.

Geography, cytology. Antarctic. Temperate. New Zealand, Chile, Southeast Brazil.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Araliiflorae (re-assigned from Corniflorae, as supported by rbcL sequence comparisons); Araliales (?). Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Cornales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; campanulid; Order Apiales.

Species 6. Genera 1; only genus, Griselinia.

General remarks. Dawson (1966), Tuatara 14, 121–129 (not seen); Philipson (1967).

Illustrations. • Griselinia lucida: Cheeseman et al., Ill. NZ. Flora (1914).


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’.

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