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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Surianaceae Arn.

Excluding Stylobasiaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Trees and shrubs. Mesophytic and xerophytic (with Suriana coastal). Leaves small to medium-sized; alternate; spiral; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery (?); petiolate to sessile; non-sheathing; not gland-dotted; simple (mostly), or compound (Recchia). Lamina entire; acicular, or lanceolate, or oblanceolate, or oblong; one-veined, or pinnately veined (?); cross-venulate (?); attenuate at the base. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins entire.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral, or bifacial (?), or centric. Extra-floral nectaries present (e.g. Cadellia), or absent. Abaxial epidermis not papillose. Mucilaginous epidermis absent. Stomata present; mainly confined to one surface (abaxial), or on both surfaces (Suriana); anomocytic, or anisocytic. Adaxial hypodermis absent. The mesophyll without etherial oil cells; not containing mucilage cells.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secretory cavities present, or absent. Cork cambium present, or absent; initially deep-seated, or initially superficial. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The vessel end-walls simple. The axial xylem with fibre tracheids, or without fibre tracheids; of Suriana with libriform fibres. The parenchyma of Suriana apotracheal and paratracheal; wood of Suriana storied.

Reproductive type, pollination. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes. The ultimate inflorescence units cymose. Inflorescences axillary. Flowers bracteate (the bracts large in Suriana); bracteolate; small; regular; 5 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Free hypanthium present (inconspicuous), or absent. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous (below, the lobes acuminate); regular; persistent; imbricate; with the median member posterior. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; polypetalous; imbricate, or contorted (in Suriana maritima); regular; yellow. Petals shortly clawed.

Androecium (8–)10. Androecial members free of the perianth; markedly unequal (the inner shorter); free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens, or including staminodes (the inner or outer members often sterile or abortive). Staminodes when present, 1–5; ambiguously external to the fertile stamens, or in the same series as the fertile stamens, or internal to the fertile stamens; non-petaloid. Stamens 5, or (8–)10; isomerous with the perianth, or diplostemonous; oppositisepalous; alternating with the corolla members, or both alternating with and opposite the corolla members. Anthers dorsifixed (“basifixed and versatile” in Suriana maritima, according to Bello et al.); versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Tapetum glandular. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate (or colporoidate); 2-celled.

Gynoecium 5 carpelled (Suriana, Cadellia), or 1 carpelled (Guilfoylia), or 2–4 carpelled (?). Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth, or isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium monomerous, or apocarpous; of one carpel, or eu-apocarpous; superior. Carpel stylate; with a gynobasic style; 2 ovuled. Placentation (sub-) basal. Ovules funicled; ascending; collateral; non-arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Outer integument not contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Endosperm formation nuclear. Embryogeny onagrad.

Fruit fleshy; an aggregate (of 3–5 carpels), or not an aggregate (when monomerous). The fruiting carpel indehiscent; nucular, or drupaceous, or baccate. Seeds more or less non-endospermic. Cotyledons 2 (usually thickened). Embryo curved (hippocrepiform), or bent.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Saponins/sapogenins absent. Proanthocyanidins present, or absent. Ellagic acid absent.

Geography, cytology. Sub-tropical and tropical. Atlantic tropical America, tropical East Africa, Madagascar, Mascarenes, Indian Ocean Islands, Ceylon to Malay Peninsula, Eastern Malaysia, Northeast and subtropical Australia, Formosa, Philippines.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Rutiflorae, or Rosiflorae (cf. Fernando et al 1993); if Rosidae, Rosales (or near Polygalales); (if Rutiflorae) Rutales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Rosales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; fabid; Order Fabales.

Species 7. Genera 4 (with Stylobasium excluded); Suriana, Cadellia, Guilfoylia and Recchia.

General remarks. Satisfactory representation of recent notions on the proper dispositions of genera previously referred to Simaroubaceae will necessitate thorough overhaul of the descriptions presented in this package (cf. Ixonanthaceae, Irvingiaceae, Kirkiaceae, Picramniaceae, Simaroubaceae, Stylobasiaceae). Meanwhile, details of this description are probably biased towards Suriana, pending acquisition of adequate data on the other genera. A detailed study of floral morphology and ontogeny by Bello et al. (2007) is restricted to Suriana maritima.

Illustrations. • Suriana maritima: Nat. Pflanzenfam III (1896). • Suriana maritima: Lindley. • Le Maout and Decaisne: Suriana.


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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