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13. Symplocaceae Desfontaines

Frank Almeda, Peter W. Fritsch

Shrubs or trees, deciduous [evergreen], often accumulating aluminum, tanniferous. Leaves alternate, spirally [distichously] arranged, simple; stipules absent; petiole present; blade margins serrate, serrulate, dentate, or crenulate-serrulate, sometimes nearly entire. Inflorescences usually axillary, rarely internodal, panicles or fascicles [racemes, spikes, or solitary flowers]. Flowers bisexual [unisexual]; perianth and androecium epigynous; hypanthium adnate to ovary wall; sepals [3-]5, connate proximally; petals [3-]5[-11], connate proximally [to middle]; nectary disc present; stamens ca. 40-100 [rarely ca. 5-15 in dioecious species], adnate to corolla at base [to middle], 1-4-seriate, in antisepalous fascicles [± evenly distributed]; anthers dehiscent by longitudinal slits; pistils 1, 2-3-carpellate; ovary inferior [subinferior], incompletely 2- or 3[-5]-locular; placentation mostly axile (intruded); ovules anatropous, unitegmic, tenuinucellate; styles 1, hollow, filiform [subulate]; stigmas 1, 2-5-lobed [capitate]. Fruits drupaceous. Seeds 1[-5], brown, ovoid or reniform, [ellipsoid, ampulliform, U-shaped, or S-shaped]; embryo straight [curved]; endosperm copious, oily.

Genera 2, species 320 (1 genus, 2 species in the flora): se United States, West Indies (Antilles), South America (Argentina, Brazil), Asia (China, India, Japan), Pacific Islands (Fiji), Australia; temperate, tropical, and subtropical areas.

Cordyloblaste Henschel ex Moritzi, with two species, occurs in eastern Asia (P. W. Fritsch et al. 2008).

Following A. L. de Jussieu (1789), some authors have long placed the Symplocaceae in Ebenales close to Styracaceae; others have placed it in Theales or Cornales (B. Ståhl 2004b). The recent ordinal classifications of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (1998, 2003) assigned it to the more broadly circumscribed Ericales (including Ebenales), comprising 24 families. Studies with DNA sequence data place Symplocaceae as sister to Styracaceae + Diapensiaceae (J. Schönenberger et al. 2005).

Within Ericales, Symplocaceae are distinguished by their estipulate leaves; sympetalous, actinomorphic corollas; epipetalous, connate stamens; inferior ovaries; simple styles; unitegmic ovules; and drupaceous fruits. These features and recent phylogenetic studies based on DNA sequence data and morphology leave no doubt that Symplocaceae constitute a monophyletic group (Wang Y. et al. 2004; P. W. Fritsch et al. 2006, 2008).

SELECTED REFERENCES Fritsch, P. W. et al. 2006. Phylogeny of Symplocos based on DNA sequences of the chloroplast trnC-trnD intergenic region. Syst. Bot. 31: 181-192. Fritsch, P. W. et al. 2008. Revised infrafamilial classification of Symplocaceae based on phylogenetic data from DNA sequences and morphology. Taxon 57: 823-852. Nooteboom, H. P. 2004. Symplocaceae. In: K. Kubitzki et al., eds. 1990+. The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. 9+ vols. Berlin, etc. Vol. 6, pp. 443-449. Ståhl, B. 2004b. Symplocaceae. In: N. P. Smith et al., eds. 2004. Flowering Plants of the Neotropics. Princeton. Pp. 365-366. Wang, Y. et al. 2004. Phylogeny and infrageneric classification of Symplocos (Symplocaceae) inferred from DNA sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 91: 1901-1914. Wood, C. E. Jr. and R. B. Channell. 1960. The genera of the Ebenales in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 41: 1-35.

Lower Taxon


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