The families of flowering plants
Habit and leaf form. Erect, tufted, forest-floor herbs (of peculiar form, with a rosette of shortish, erect aerial stems arising from the rhizome, each bearing a single, terminal leaf which subtends 13 long-pedicelled flowers). Perennial; shortly rhizomatous. Leaves alternate; spiral; flat; petiolate; simple. Lamina entire; lanceolate, or ovate; pinnately veined, or palmately veined, or parallel-veined (with 35 main veins); cross-venulate; attenuate to the base. Leaves eligulate. Lamina margins entire; flat.
Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; anomocytic.
Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite. Pollination entomophilous.
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in inflorescences (then of 23 long-pedicelled flowers, arising close together in the axil). Inflorescences at the base of the single petioles, atop the aerial stems. Flowers bracteate (at the base of the petiole); regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube present (campanulate).
Perianth of tepals; 6; joined; 2 whorled (3+3); isomerous; petaloid (the tube green, but the lobes coloured); similar in the two whorls; dark purple, or brown; persistent.
Androecium 6. Androecial members adnate (to the perigone, at the base of the segments); all equal; free of one another; 2 whorled (3+3). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; diplostemonous; presumably alterniperianthial; shortly filantherous. Anthers basifixed; non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; bilocular (the locules widely separated by the massive connective); tetrasporangiate; conspicuously appendaged. The anther appendages apical (subulate, by long extension of the thick connective). Endothecium developing fibrous thickenings. Anther epidermis persistent. Microsporogenesis successive. The initial microspore tetrads tetrahedral, or isobilateral, or decussate, or linear. Anther wall initially with one middle layer. Tapetum glandular. Pollen shed as single grains. Pollen grains aperturate; sulcate; 2-celled.
Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious; inferior. Ovary 3 locular. Epigynous disk absent. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical; short, thick. Stigmas 3 (short, individually bifid, reflexed). Placentation axile. Ovules 2 per locule; funicled; pendulous; superposed; anatropous; bitegmic; tenuinucellate. Outer integument contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Antipodal cells formed; 3; not proliferating; ephemeral. Synergids hooked. Hypostase present. Endosperm formation nuclear. Embryogeny solanad (?).
Fruit slightly fleshy; indehiscent; a berry (trigonous, with a thick pericarp and three thick wings). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm ruminate (and cartilaginous). Seeds ovate, dorsally grooved, rugose. Embryo well differentiated (but minute). Cotyledons 1 (lateral, the plumule nearly terminal). Embryo straight. Testa without phytomelan; very thin. Micropyle zigzag.
Geography, cytology. Paleotropical. Tropical. Southern India, Ceylon, Malay Peninsula.
Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Liliiflorae; Dioscoreales. APG III core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; non-commelinid Monocot. APG IV Order Dioscoreales (as a synonym of Dioscoreaceae).
Species 2. Genera 2; Avetra, Trichopus.
General remarks. Comparing these descriptions using Intkey shows this family diverging from typical Dioscoreaceae (q.v.) in leaf form, as well as differing in anther morphology, microsporogenesis and ovule details.
Illustrations. • Trichopus zeylanicus: Hutchinson (1959). • Trichopus zeylanicus: Bot. Mag. 120 (1894).
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: 20th February 2018. delta-intkey.com/angio’.