The families of flowering plants

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Scheuchzeriaceae Rudolphi

Including Borboraceae Dulac (p.p.).

Habit and leaf form. Slender herbs. Perennial; without conspicuous aggregations of leaves (the leaves both cauline and basal); rhizomatous. Helophytic (in Sphagnum bogs). Leaves alternate; (semi) terete; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with free margins. Leaves simple. Lamina entire; acicular to linear (semi-terete, with a pore at the tip); parallel-veined. Axillary scales present (cf. Potamogetonaceae, sometimes expressed as hairs).

Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; tetracytic. The mesophyll containing crystals. The crystals druses (?), or solitary-prismatic (? — no raphides). Foliar vessels absent.

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

Root anatomy. Root xylem with vessels; vessel end-walls scalariform.

Reproductive type, pollination. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Pollination anemophilous (protogynous).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence units racemose. Inflorescences terminal; terminal, bracteate racemes. Flowers bracteate; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube absent.

Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; free; 2 whorled (3+3); isomerous; sepaloid to petaloid; green, or cream.

Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 2 whorled (3+3). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; diplostemonous; alterniperianthial; filantherous (the filaments short). Anthers basifixed (elongate); non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse; tetrasporangiate. Tapetum amoeboid. Pollen shed in aggregates; in diads. Pollen grains nonaperturate; 3-celled.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled, or 6 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth, or increased in number relative to the perianth. The pistil basally 3 celled, or 6 celled. Gynoecium apocarpous to syncarpous; semicarpous (the carpels slightly connate at the base, otherwise distinct); superior. Carpel incompletely closed (‘extrorse’ at the tip); 2(–5) ovuled. Placentation marginal to basal. Ovary basally 3 locular, or 6 locular. Stigmas dry type; papillate; Group II type. Ovules ascending; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Outer integument not contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells not formed (the three nuclei soon degenerating). Synergids pear-shaped. Endosperm formation helobial. Endosperm haustoria absent. Embryogeny probably caryophyllad.

Fruit non-fleshy; an aggregate (or more or less schizocarpic). The fruiting carpel dehiscent; viewed as semicarpous, a follicle (the follicles recurved-spreading). Fruit perhaps best interpreted as a schizocarp. Mericarps if regarded as schizocarpic, 3, or 6; comprising follicles. Seeds non-endospermic. Seeds with starch. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 1. Embryo chlorophyllous (Scheuchzeria palustris).

Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar. Hypocotyl internode absent. Seedling collar not conspicuous. Cotyledon hyperphyll elongated to compact (short, but swollen for storage); more or less circular in t.s. Coleoptile absent. Seedling non-macropodous. First leaf dorsiventral. Primary root ephemeral.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Acumulated starch exclusively ‘pteridophyte type’. Cyanogenic. Cynogenic constituents tyrosine-derived (triglochinin). Alkaloids absent. Saponins/sapogenins absent. Proanthocyanidins present.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic. Frigid zone, or temperate (cool). Widespread in the cool North temperate and frigid zone. N = 11.

Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Alismatiflorae; Zosterales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; non-commelinid Monocot; Order Alismatales.

Species 2. Genera 1; only genus, Scheuchzeria.

Illustrations. • Scheuchzeria palustris: Eng. Bot. 1435 (1869). • Scheuchzeria, embryo.


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: 22nd April 2014. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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