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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Toricelliaceae (Wang.) Hu corr. Airy Shaw

Alternatively Torricelliaceae Hu; ~ Cornaceae.

Excluding Aralidiaceae, Melanophyllaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Small trees (with thick branches and broad pith). Leaves alternate; spiral; long petiolate; broadly sheathing; simple. Lamina dissected; more or less palmatifid; palmately veined. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins coarsely dentate, or entire.

Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; mainly confined to one surface; anomocytic. Hairs present; glandular; multicellular.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secretory cavities absent. Internal phloem absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

The vessel end-walls simple. The parenchyma apotracheal. ‘Included’ phloem absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male, or functionally female. Plants monoecious, or dioecious (?). Female flowers without staminodes. Gynoecium of male flowers pistillodial (represented by 1–3 subulate processes).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in panicles. The ultimate inflorescence units cymose. Inflorescences lax, many flowered pendulous thyrses. Flowers small; regular; cyclic.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla (male flowers), or sepaline (female flowers); 10 (male flowers), or 6–10 (female flowers); 1 whorled (female flowers), or 2 whorled (male); in female flowers, isomerous. Calyx 5 (male flowers), or 3–5 (female flowers); 1 whorled; gamosepalous; blunt-lobed (male flowers), or toothed (female flowers, the 3–5 teeth minute); lobes of male flowers more or less unequal; open in bud. Corolla 5 (in male flowers only); in male flowers, 1 whorled; polypetalous (the petals inflexed); induplicate valvate.

Androecium in male flowers, 5. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous; shortly filantherous. Anthers basifixed; latrorse to introrse (latero-introrse). Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 3–4 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth to isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3–4 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious, or synstylovarious (?); inferior. Ovary 3–4 locular (often partially sterile). Epigynous disk absent (‘inconspicuous’). Stigmas 3 (erect or divaricate, persistent). Placentation apical. Ovules 1 per locule; funicled; pendulous; arillate (the funicle thickened to form an obturator); anatropous.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a drupe (obliquely ovoid, 3–4 locular); 1 seeded. Seeds endospermic; linear, curved.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Iridoids detected (griselinoside, cf. Griselinia); ‘Route I’ type (normal).

Geography, cytology. Holarctic. Temperate. Eastern Himalayas, Western China. N = 12.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Araliiflorae; Araliales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Cornales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; campanulid; Order Apiales.

Species 3. Genera 1; only genus, Toricellia.

General remarks. The data compiled here have Toricellia differing conspicuously from Aralidiaceae (q.v.) in numerous characters representing leaf morphology and anatomy, stem vascular anatomy, wood anatomy, floral morphology (valvate corolla, basifixed anthers, plurilocular ovary, etc.), as well as in the non-ruminate endosperm. A temperate genus, it differs from the tropical Melanophylla in conspicuous leaf, inflorescence and floral characters, a well as in the single pollen grains.

Illustrations. • Toricellia angulata: Hook. Ic. Pl. 19 (1889).


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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