The families of flowering plants
Habit and leaf form. Large, tough herbs (with sturdy erect stems from the subterranean rhizomes). Normal plants, or switch-plants (? cf. the peculiar leaf blade vascularization). With a basal aggregation of leaves; rhizomatous. Leaves alternate; spiral, or four-ranked, or tristichous; flat (or canaliculate); leathery; sessile; sheathing; simple. Lamina entire; linear; parallel-veined. Lamina margins minutely serrate, or entire. Leaf development presumably graminaceous.
General anatomy. Plants with silica bodies (spheroidal, in the epidermis and parenchyma).
Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina having the vascular bundles arranged in vertical pairs, with the phloem orientated to the inside i.e., the upper bundles normal, the lower inverted. Epidermis containing silica bodies. Stomata present; paracytic, or tetracytic. The mesophyll not containing mucilage cells; without crystals. Foliar vessels present; with scalariform end-walls.
Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Young stems bluntly tetragonal, or triangular in section. Secondary thickening absent.
The vessel end-walls oblique; scalariform, or scalariform and simple (mainly scalariform).
Root anatomy. Root xylem with vessels (perforation plates scalariform).
Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries absent (no nectaries). Pollination anemophilous.
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in inflorescences; in heads (densely concentrated). The ultimate inflorescence units (the heads) racemose. Inflorescences of one or several heads; with involucral bracts; pseudanthial. Flowers small (with short, swollen, puberulous pedicels); regular; 3 merous; cyclic. Perigone tube absent. Hypogynous disk absent.
Perianth of tepals; 6; free; 2 whorled (3+3); isomerous; sepaloid, or petaloid (the members thin, narrow, hyaline, persistent, obtuse); similar in the two whorls (chaffy); hyaline; persistent.
Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth to adnate (the filaments somewhat adnate to the tepals at their bases); free of one another; 2 whorled (3+3). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; diplostemonous; filantherous (the filaments thin and relatively long). Anthers basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; tetrasporangiate. Pollen shed in aggregates; in tetrads (tetrahedral). Pollen grains aperturate; 1 aperturate; ulcerate (cf. Juncaceae).
Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious (short styled, with three long stigmatic branches); superior. Ovary 3 locular. Gynoecium shortly stylate. Styles 1; attenuate from the ovary; apical. Stigmas 3. Placentation basal, or axile. Ovules 1–7 per locule (to several); ascending; apotropous; anatropous.
Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal. Fruit triangular, 3 seeded. Seeds endospermic (the nucellus and enclosed endosperm free from the seed coat, except at the micropylar end); conspicuously hairy (hispid); winged (with a hispid, subulate process at each end). Embryo small, well differentiated. Cotyledons 1. Embryo cylindrical, straight. Testa without phytomelan; brown (thick).
Physiology, phytochemistry. Not cyanogenic.
Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Tropical. Northeast Brazil, Guiana.
Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Commeliniflorae; Cyperales. APG III core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; commelinid Monocot. APG IV Order Poales.
Species 3. Genera 1; only genus, Thurnia (with Prionium retained in the Juncaceae.
Illustrations. • Thurnia jenmani: Hook. Ic. Pl. 15 (1883–85). • Thurnia sphaerocephala: Hook. Ic. Pl. 15 (1883–85).
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: 15th April 2018. delta-intkey.com/angio’.