The families of flowering plants

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Typhaceae Juss.

Excluding Sparganniaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Aquatic herbs. Perennial; with a basal aggregation of leaves, or without conspicuous aggregations of leaves; rhizomatous. Hydrophytic to helophytic; rooted. Leaves emergent. Leaves alternate; distichous; triangular in section or flat; leathery; sessile; sheathing; simple. Lamina entire; linear; parallel-veined; without cross-venules. Leaf development ‘graminaceous’ (?).

General anatomy. Plants with silica bodies, or without silica bodies.

Leaf anatomy. Epidermis containing silica bodies, or without silica bodies. Stomata present; paracytic. Guard-cells not ‘grass type’. The mesophyll containing mucilage cells (these with raphides), or not containing mucilage cells; containing crystals. The crystals raphides, or druses, or solitary-prismatic (or styloids). Foliar vessels present; with scalariform end-walls. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.

The vessel end-walls scalariform.

Root anatomy. Root xylem with vessels; vessel end-walls scalariform.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants monoecious. Female flowers without staminodes. Gynoecium of male flowers absent. Floral nectaries absent (? — no septal nectaries). Pollination anemophilous.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers densely aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; compound, dense in spikes. Inflorescences scapiflorous; terminal; a dense compound spike, with condensed secondary/tertiary branches formed from closely approximated annular meristems, the female flowers in the lower part, the males above. Flowers small. Floral receptacle developing a gynophore (sometimes, in the female flowers, to which the perianth-hairs may be adnate), or with neither androphore nor gynophore. Perigone tube absent. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth vestigial (in the form of simple, lobed or forked hairs); 1–10(–20) (? — commonly 3 in the males, 1–4 in the females); free, or joined (somewhat adnate to the slender, elongated axis); 1–5 whorled (irregular).

Androecium (1–)3(–5). Androecial members free of the perianth; coherent (by the filaments); 1 adelphous (the filaments joined basally for variable distances). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens (1–)3(–5). Anthers basifixed; non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse (when recordable); tetrasporangiate; appendaged (via apical projection of the connective). Endothecium developing fibrous thickenings. Anther epidermis persistent. Microsporogenesis successive. The initial microspore tetrads tetrahedral, or isobilateral. Anther wall initially with one middle layer. Tapetum glandular. Pollen shed as single grains (usually), or shed in aggregates; rarely in tetrads. Pollen grains aperturate; 1 aperturate; ulcerate (the aperture diffusely delimited); 2-celled.

Gynoecium 1 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium monomerous; of one carpel; superior. Carpel stylate; apically stigmatic; 1 ovuled. Placentation apical. Stigmas dry type; non-papillate; Group II type. Ovules pendulous; non-arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Outer integument not contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells formed; 3; not proliferating; ephemeral. Synergids pear-shaped. Endosperm formation helobial. Embryogeny asterad.

Fruit non-fleshy. The fruiting carpel dehiscent; a follicle (but this tiny and achene-like before dehiscence). Dispersal unit with the perianth-hairs forming a parachute. Dispersal by wind. Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds with starch. Cotyledons 1. Embryo achlorophyllous (1/2); straight. Testa without phytomelan.

Seedling. Hypocotyl internode absent. Seedling collar not conspicuous. Cotyledon hyperphyll elongated; assimilatory; more or less circular in t.s. Coleoptile absent. Seedling cataphylls absent. First leaf dorsiventral. Primary root ephemeral.

Physiology, phytochemistry. C3. C3 physiology recorded directly in Typha. Anatomy non-C4 type (Typha). Cyanogenic, or not cyanogenic. Alkaloids present, or absent. Arbutin absent. Saponins/sapogenins absent. Proanthocyanidins present; cyanidin. Flavonols present; kaempferol and quercetin. Ellagic acid absent. Sieve-tube plastids P-type; type II.

Geography, cytology. Temperate to tropical. Widespread, but absent from Madagascar, Malaysia, and the warm Americas. X = 15.

Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Bromeliiflorae; Typhales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; commelinid Monocot; Order Amborellales.

Species 10. Genera 1; Typha.

General remarks. These compiled data show Typha differing very conspicuously from Sparganium in the inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology, as well as in ‘esoteric characters’ depending on limited sampling (papillate stigmas, embryological details, seedling morphology).

Economic uses, etc. The leaves used in weaving chair bottoms and mats.

Illustrations. • Technical details: Typha. • Typha angustifolia: Eng. Bot. 1386 (1869). • Typha latifolia (B. Ent.). • Typha latifolia: Eng. Bot. 1385 (1869).


This description is offered for casual browsing only. We strongly advise against extracting comparative information from it. 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: 22nd April 2014. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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