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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Ripogonaceae Conran and Clifford

~ Smilacaceae.

Including Rhipogonaceae

Habit and leaf form. Scandent shrubs, or lianas. Without conspicuous aggregations of leaves. Climbing; scrambling (i.e., without the leaf tendrils of Smilacaceae sensu stricto). Leaves alternate, or opposite, or whorled; flat; leathery; petiolate, or subsessile; non-sheathing; without marked odour, or foetid (?); simple. Lamina entire; palmately veined (curved-convergent); cross-venulate.

Leaf anatomy. Foliar vessels absent.

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

The vessel end-walls scalariform.

Root anatomy. Root xylem with vessels.

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

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes, or in spikes, or in panicles (rarely). Inflorescences axillary (usually), or terminal (rarely); usually axillary racemes or spikes, rarely terminal panicles; espatheate. Flowers regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube absent.

Perianth of ‘tepals’ (inconspicuous); 6; free; 2 whorled; isomerous; petaloid; similar in the two whorls.

Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; isomerous with the perianth. Anthers basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; latrorse; bilocular; tetrasporangiate. Microsporogenesis successive. Tapetum glandular. Pollen shed as single grains. Pollen grains aperturate; 1 aperturate; sulcate (reticulate).

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious; superior. Ovary 3 locular; sessile. Stigmas wet type. Placentation axile. Ovules 2 per locule; funicled; pendulous; anatropous.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm not oily (starchy). Seeds with starch. Embryo well differentiated (‘capitate’). Testa without phytomelan.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Saponins/sapogenins present.

Geography, cytology. Paleotropical, Australian, and Antarctic. From New Zealand to New Guinea, mainly eastern Australia. X = 15.

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

Species 6. Genera 1; Ripogonum.

General remarks. See Conran,J.G. and Clifford, H.T. (1985). The taxonomic affinities of the genus Ripogonum. Nord. J. Bot. 5, 215–219.

Illustrations. • Ripogonum scandens and R. elseyanum: Hook. Ic. Pl. 14 (1880–82).


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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