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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Hostaceae B. Mathew

Alternatively Funkiaceae Horan.; ~ Liliaceae, Agavaceae and Alliaceae with fibrous or tuberous rootstock.

Including Hesperocallidaceae Traub

Habit and leaf form. Herbs (or basally woody). Perennial; with a basal aggregation of leaves; cormous, or rhizomatous (the roots often fleshy). Leaves alternate; spiral; petiolate, or sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with free margins. Leaves simple. Lamina entire; linear to lanceolate, or oblong to ovate; pinnately veined (parallel-pinnate), or parallel-veined. Lamina margins entire.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata present; anomocytic. The mesophyll containing crystals. The crystals raphides and solitary-prismatic. Foliar vessels absent.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secondary thickening absent. The axial xylem without vessels.

Root anatomy. Root xylem with vessels (with scalariform perforation plates).

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present. Nectar secretion from the gynoecium (from septal nectaries).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence units racemose. Inflorescences scapiflorous; simple scapigerous racemes. Flowers bracteate; medium-sized; regular (or nearly so); 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube present (cylindrical, campanulate or funnel-shaped, the lobes of variable length and sometimes recurved). Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; joined; 2 whorled; isomerous; petaloid; similar in the two whorls; white, or violet, or blue. Tepal apex trichomes (TAT) present.

Androecium 6. Androecial members adnate (to the perianth tube); free of one another. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; appendaged. The anther appendages apical (the connective forming a tube over the filament tip). Microsporogenesis successive. Tapetum glandular. Pollen grains aperturate; 1 aperturate; sulcate.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 3 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1 (filiform); apical. Stigmas 1; 1 lobed, or 3 lobed; wet type (in Hosta). Placentation axile. Ovules 25–50 per locule (‘many’); anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Synergids pear-shaped (with filiform apparatus). Endosperm formation helobial.

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal. Fruit many seeded. Seeds endospermic; small (flattened or compressed, often elliptic). Testa encrusted with phytomelan; black.

Seedling. Hypocotyl internode present (short). Seedling collar not conspicuous. Cotyledon hyperphyll compact; non-assimilatory. Coleoptile absent. Seedling cataphylls absent. First leaf dorsiventral. Primary root ephemeral.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Proanthocyanidins absent. Flavonols present; kaempferol (abundant, in Hosta). Ellagic acid absent.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic. China, Japan and North America. X = 24, 30.

Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Liliiflorae; Asparagales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; non-commelinid Monocot; Order Asparagales.

Species 12. Genera 3; Hosta, Leucocrinum (or Anthericaceae), Hesperocallis.

Illustrations. • Hosta glauca: Bot. Reg. 1839, 50. • Hosta spp. (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: 20th July 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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