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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Sarcospermataceae H.J. Lam

Alternatively Sarcospermaceae; ~ Sapotaceae.

Including Peroniaceae Dostál

Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs; laticiferous, or non-laticiferous. Leaves opposite to whorled (actually opposite to subopposite, rarely subverticillate); leathery; petiolate (the petiole sometimes with a terminal pair of stipel-like appendages); not gland-dotted; simple. Lamina entire; pinnately veined (often with large pits in the axils of the main nerves); cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate. Stipules intrapetiolar; free of one another; small, caducous. Lamina margins entire.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Internal phloem absent. Cortical bundles absent. Medullary bundles absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The vessel end-walls simple. The axial xylem with fibre tracheids. ‘Included’ phloem absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes, or in panicles. Inflorescences axillary; axillary panicles or racemes. Flowers bracteate (the bracts minute, deltoid); small; regular; 5 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; polysepalous; regular; imbricate. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; gamopetalous (with a short tube); imbricate (the lobes spreading, rounded); regular.

Androecium 10. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla tube); markedly unequal; free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium including staminodes. Staminodes 5; external to the fertile stamens (the outer whorl); non-petaloid (consisting of antherless filaments). Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth; alternisepalous; opposite the corolla members; shortly filantherous. Anthers basifixed; non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; latrorse to extrorse; bilocular. Pollen grains aperturate; 4 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 1–2 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 1–2 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 1–2 locular; sessile. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1 (short and stout); attenuate from the ovary; apical. Stigmas 1; simple; truncate. Placentation when unilocular, basal to parietal; when bilocular, basal to axile. Ovules in the single cavity 1; 1 per locule; funicled; ascending; apotropous; anatropous.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a drupe (ovoid to oblong, slightly bilobed); 1–2 seeded. Seeds non-endospermic. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2 (thick).

Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.

Geography, cytology. Paleotropical. Tropical. Southeast Asia and Malaysia.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli (? - being gamopetalous!). Dahlgren’s Superorder Primuliflorae; Ebenales. Cronquist’s Subclass Dilleniidae; Ebenales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; Order Ericales (as a synonym of Sapotaceae).

Species 6. Genera 1; only genus, Sarcosperma.

General remarks. This rather inadequate description has Sarcosperma differing from Sapotaceae (q.v.) in phyllotaxy, the 1–2 locular gynoecium, and the drupaceous fruit.

Illustrations. • Sarcosperma paniculatum: Hook. Ic. Pl. 27 (1901). • Technical details: Sarcosperma (Hutchinson).


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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