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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Ledocarpaceae Meyen

~ Geraniaceae, Vivianaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Small shrubs (or shrublets). Leaves usually opposite; simple, or compound; ternate in Ledocarpon pedunculare. Lamina when simple dissected, or entire. Leaves exstipulate (but the opposing leaf bases connected by a transverse line).

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The parenchyma paratracheal.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; when aggregated, in corymbs. The ultimate inflorescence units racemose. Inflorescences few-flowered corymbs. Flowers fragrant to malodorous; regular; 5 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic, or pentacyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla (Rhyncotheca being excluded); 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; polysepalous; regular; imbricate. Epicalyx of bracteoles present. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; polypetalous; imbricate, or contorted. Petals entire.

Androecium 10. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 10; diplostemonous; alternisepalous; both alternating with and opposite the corolla members. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse, or introrse. Pollen grains nonaperturate.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled, or 5 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth, or isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled, or 5 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious; superior. Ovary 3 locular, or 5 locular. Gynoecium shortly stylate, or non-stylate. Stigmas 3, or 5. Placentation axile, or apical. Ovules 2 per locule, or 5–50 per locule (‘many’); pendulous; epitropous; with ventral raphe; collateral (when two), or biseriate (when ‘many’); anatropous, or campylotropous (?).

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule (sometimes beaked). Capsules valvular (‘septifragal’), or loculicidal. Seeds thinly endospermic (the endosperm fleshy). Cotyledons 2; rolled. Embryo curved, or bent.

Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Andes.

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

Species 11. Genera 2; Balbisia (Ledocarpon), Wendtia.

General remarks. Differing from Vivianaceae (q.v.) in the cymose inflorescence, lack of hypogynous disk, the collateral or biseriate ovules and thinly endospermic seeds, as well as the record of non-aperturate pollen.

Illustrations. • Ledocarpon pedunculare: Bot. Reg. 1392, 1831. • Balbisia verticillata: Bot. Mag. 31 (1875).


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: 13th March 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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