The families of flowering plants

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Pelliceriaceae (Planch. & Triana) Beauvis

~ Tetrameristaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Glabrous, buttressed mangrove trees (but without stilt-roots, exhibiting branched sclerenchymatous idioblasts in the cortex and pith). Leaves evergreen; alternate; ‘herbaceous’; sessile (their bases shortly decurrent); simple. Lamina entire; slightly asymmetic; pinnately veined; attenuate at the base. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins glandular dentate (or denticulate). Vernation involute.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata present; mainly confined to one surface (abaxial); cyclocytic. Hairs absent. Adaxial hypodermis present (this aqueous). The mesophyll with sclerenchymatous idioblasts; containing crystals. The crystals raphides (in special cells).

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Young stems with spongy internodes. Pith heterogeneous (with branched sclerenchymatous idioblasts and fibres interspersed). 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; radially paired and in radial multiples. The vessel end-walls oblique; simple. The vessels without vestured pits. The axial xylem without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres; without septate fibres. The fibres without spiral thickening. The wood not storied.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary; axillary; (bi-) bracteolate (each flower subtended by two elongate,crimson to rose or coral-red, eventually deciduous, petaloid ‘bracts’ surpassing the petals); large; regular; 5 merous; cyclic. Free hypanthium absent.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla (but the calyx petaloid); 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5 (the sepals crimson or rosy externally, finely glandular-pitted inside near the middle); 1 whorled; polysepalous; unequal but not bilabiate; imbricate. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; polypetalous; imbricate; white, or pink; deciduous (caducous). Petals elongate.

Androecium 5. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous; alternating with the corolla members; filantherous (the filaments appressed to alternate grooves in the 10–grooved ovary). Anthers sagittate, basifixed; non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse to latrorse; bilocular; appendaged. The anther appendages apical (via prolongation of the connective). Pollen shed as single grains. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 2 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 1 celled, or 2 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary (1–)2 locular (the two locules sometimes confluent towards the tip, one locule sometimes empty or even suppressed). Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; attenuate from the ovary; apical; thickened, smooth, elongate, gradually tapering. Stigmas 1; punctiform. Placentation axile. Ovules 1 per locule; pendulous; campylotropous.

Fruit non-fleshy; indehiscent; large (to 13 cm in diameter, dry and leathery, ovoid-turbinate, beaked; 1 seeded. Seeds endospermic; without a testa (the ripe seed consisting of the large, naked embryo, the more or less hemispherical cotyledons filling the cavity of the fruit and enclosing the conspicuous, red plumule, and the radicle on germination penetrating the stylar beak of the fruit). Cotyledons 2 (fleshy).

Special distinguishing feature. Mangroves (but without stilt-roots).

Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Tropical. Costa Rica to Ecuador.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli, or Tenuinucelli (?). Dahlgren’s Superorder Theiflorae; Theales. Cronquist’s Subclass Dilleniidae; Theales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; Order Ericales (as a synonym of Tetrameristaceae?).

Species 1. Genera 1; only genus, Pelliceria.

General remarks. In addition to the mangrove habit and associated features, Pelliceria differs from Tetrameristaceae (q.v.) in numerous, conspicuous morphological characters involving inflorescence, androecium, gynoecium and fruit; also in the records of cyclocytic foliar stomata and superficial cork cambium.

Illustrations. • Technical details: Pelliceria (Hutchinson).


This description is offered for casual browsing only. We strongly advise against extracting comparative information from it. This is much more easily achieved using 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).

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Version: 19th August 2014. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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