The families of flowering plants

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Tovariaceae Pax

~ Capparaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Coarse herbs, or shrubs (or half-shrubs). Annual, or perennial. Leaves alternate; aromatic (the plants smelling of Apium or Cestrum when fresh, of coumarin when dried); compound; ternate; exstipulate. Lamina margins entire.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Stomata present; paracytic.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring, or anomalous (?).

The axial xylem with libriform fibres.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence units racemose. Inflorescences terminal; loose, elongate, many-flowered racemes. Flowers regular; (6–)8(–9) merous; cyclic. Floral receptacle developing a gynophore (this short), or with neither androphore nor gynophore. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present; extrastaminal; lobed.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; (12–)16(–18); isomerous. Calyx (6–)8(–9); polysepalous; regular; not persistent; imbricate. Corolla (6–)8(–9); polypetalous; imbricate; regular. Petals shortly clawed to sessile.

Androecium (6–)8(–9). Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens (6–)8(–9); isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous; filantherous (the filaments thickened basally, short-hairy or papillate). Anthers basifixed (sagittate); dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Microsporogenesis simultaneous. Tapetum glandular. Pollen shed as single grains. Pollen grains aperturate; (2–)3 aperturate; colporate (colporoidate); 2-celled.

Gynoecium (5–)6(–8) carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth to isomerous with the perianth. The pistil (5–)6(–8) celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous (with short style and peltate-lobulate stigma (Airy Shaw) or spreading stigmas (Cronquist)); superior. Ovary (5–)6(–8) locular. Gynoecium shortly stylate. Styles 1; attenuate from the ovary; apical. Placentation axile (the placentas thickened, spongy). Ovules 20–70 per locule (‘many’); campylotropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Outer integument contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Synergids elongated, with filiform apparatus. Endosperm formation nuclear.

Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; slender pedicellate, a berry (mucilaginous when young, the pericarp membranous); many seeded. Seeds rather thinly endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds small. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo curved (around the periphery of the seed). Micropyle zigzag.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Mustard-oils present. Cyanogenic. Aluminium accumulation not found.

Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Sub-tropical to tropical. Central and Warm South America, West Indies. N = 14.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Violiflorae; Capparales. Cronquist’s Subclass Dilleniidae; Capparales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; malvid; Order Brassicales.

Species 2. Genera 1; only genus, Tovaria.

Illustrations. • Tovaria pendula: Hook. Ic. Pl. 7–8 (1844). • Technical details: Tovaria (Hutchinson).


The descriptions are offered for casual browsing only. We strongly advise against extracting comparative information from them. 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: 16th May 2016. delta-intkey.com’.

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