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2. Araceae

天南星科 tian nan xing ke

Authors: Heng Li, Guanghua Zhu, Peter C. Boyce, Jin Murata, Wilbert L. A. Hetterscheid, Josef Bogner & Niels Jacobsen

Arisaema wilsonii

Credit: Harvard University Herbaria

Herbs, perennial, of diverse habit including climbers, floating aquatics, helophytes, pachycaul shrubs, and geophytes. Underground stems absent, or present and then rhizomatous or tuberous; aerial stems variously produced or not, often evergreen; bulbils for vegetative reproduction sometimes produced, e.g., on leaf or on special shoots. Leaves alternate or apparently basal, usually petiolate with sheathing bases, often subtended by prophylls and/or cataphylls; leaf blade various, e.g., linear, simple (base often cordate to sagittate), sometimes peltate or variously compound (e.g., pinnate, radiate, pedate, or decompound), or still more complex and "dracontioid" (elaborate forms of sagittate, hastate, or trisect leaves in which anterior and posterior divisions are highly dissected and subdivided). Inflorescences (sometimes precocious) subtended by membranous prophylls and/or cataphylls, consisting of a spadix subtended by a spathe. Spathe commonly with tubelike base (margins fused or not) persistent or with deciduous blade. Spadix bearing bisexual or unisexual flowers, in latter case plants paradioecious or monoecious (spadix female proximally and male distally), very rarely with morphologically bisexual but functionally unisexual flowers. Bisexual flowers: tepals 0, 4, or 6; stamens 4-6(-22), filaments free, anthers with 2 thecae; ovary usually 3-loculed or more loculed or 1-loculed (pseudomonomerous). Unisexual flowers almost always naked [rare exceptions (only 3 genera, these all from Africa, including cultivated Zamioculcas with tepalate flowers)]: male represented by 1-6 (usually 2-4) free stamens or 2-12 (rarely up to 32) stamens connate into a synandrium overtopped by a common synconnective, anthers often subsessile, usually dehiscing apically by pores or slits (straight or horseshoe-shaped); female flowers consisting of a single ovary (sometimes associated with a sterile staminode), commonly 1-loculed (sometimes with 3 or 4 locules), ovules 1 to many per locule, placentation parietal, axile, basal, or apical. Pollen grains aperturate or inaperturate, exine of various ornamentation. Most genera (Aroideae s.l.) with inaperturate pollen grains without sporopollenin. Sterile (neuter) flowers derived from male or female flowers sometimes present at apex or base of female and/or male zones of spadix. Spadix sometimes with a sterile, terminal appendix. Fruit usually a head of 1- to several-seeded indehiscent separate berries, or dehiscent via shedding stylar plate (Monstereae excluding Amydrium) or syncarpous and apically dehiscent (Cryptocoryne) or syncarpous and indehiscent (Syngonium, cultivated), commonly red, green, white, or yellow, rarely blue.

About 110 genera and more than 3,500 species: all parts of the world except polar regions and the driest deserts, chiefly in tropical and subtropical regions; 26 genera and 181 species (72 endemic) in China.

There is an abundance of Araceae in the S and SW provinces of China. The NE and NW regions are poorer. About 50% of Araceae species in China are medicinal plants; for example, Arisaema heterophyllum, Pinellia pedatisecta, and P. ternata have been used since ancient times. Tubers of Amorphophallus and Colocasia are used for food or in industry for starch. Pistia is very valuable as feed for pigs and sometimes is cultivated as an ornamental plant in aquatic gardens.

The following genera are not native to China but are cultivated there: Aglaonema Schott, Anthurium Schott, Caladium Ventenat, Dieffenbachia Schott, Monstera Adanson, Philodendron Schott, Spathiphyllum Schott, Syngonium Schott, Zamioculcas Schott, and Zantedeschia Sprengel.

Li Hen. 1979. Araceae (excluding Acorus). In: Wu Cheng yih & Li Hen, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 13(2): 1-242.


1 Flowers bisexual   (2)
+ Flowers unisexual, plants monoecious or sometimes dioecious; perigone absent   (11)
       
2 (1) Flowers with perianth ("perigone")   (3)
+ Flowers without perianth ("perigone") or reduced and not visible from above   (6)
       
3 (2) Plants climbing   (4)
+ Plants herbaceous, not climbing   (5)
       
4 (3) Ovary 3-loculed (but fruit monomerous); flowers functionally bisexual.   2 Pothos
+ Ovary 1-loculed; flowers functionally unisexual (plants dioecious).   3 Pothoidium
       
5 (3) Plants without prickles (unarmored); leaves deciduous, oblong-cordate; inflorescences carried at ground level with most of peduncle hypogeal; plants of boreal habitats.   1 Symplocarpus
+ Plants armored with prickles; leaves evergreen, sagittate or hastate to pinnatifid or pinnatipartite; inflorescence carried on an erect, aerial peduncle; plants of tropical habitats.   9 Lasia
       
6 (2) Plants aquatic and/or helophytic; spathe persistent; fruit red; plants of boreal habitats.   10 Calla
+ Plants climbing, not aquatic and/or helophytic; spathe deciduous; fruit various, if red then spathe caducous; plants of tropical habitats   (7)
       
7 (6) Fruit each a discrete indehiscent berry   (8)
+ Fruit not a discrete berry, dehiscent via shedding of stylar plate   (9)
       
8 (7) Inflorescences solitary or at most 3 held loosely together; flowers without perigone; fruit ovoid, white at maturity.   5 Amydrium
+ Inflorescences several together distichously arranged; flowers with reduced inconspicuous perigone; fruit truncate, red at maturity.   4 Anadendrum
       
9 (7) Fruit each with numerous small, straight seeds.   6 Rhaphidophora
+ Fruit each with 1 to few large, curved seeds   (10)
       
10 (9) Seeds 2-4 per fruit on an intrusive parietal placenta; leaves pinnately divided with pinholes along midrib.   7 Epipremnum
+ Seed 1 per fruit on a basal placenta; leaves always entire.   8 Scindapsus
       
11 (1) Plant a free-floating aquatic.   26 Pistia
+ Plant never a free-floating aquatic, if aquatic then rooted in soil   (12)
       
12 (11) Suffruticose herbs; fruit a red berry.   15 Aglaonema
+ Herbaceous plants of various life forms but never suffruticose; fruit various   (13)
       
13 (12) Rooted aquatics; female flowers connate; fruit an apically dehiscent syncarpium.   13 Cryptocoryne
+ Terrestrial herbs and/or geophytes; female flowers free; fruit separate, indehiscent   (14)
       
14 (13) Stamens of each male flower entirely connate into distinct synandrium   (15)
+ Stamens of each male flower free, or only filaments connate (rarely also anthers fused in Arisaema)   (19)
       
15 (14) Spathe not differentiated into a distal limb and proximal tube   (16)
+ Spathe differentiated into a distal limb and proximal tube separated by a pronounced constriction   (17)
       
16 (15) Spathe brightly colored (inside commonly yellow or purple-red); female flowers with staminodes (staminodes absent in S. griffithii); stem a repent or suberect epigeal rhizome.   22 Steudnera
+ Spathe white; female flowers without staminodes; stem a hypogeal tuber or stolon.   14 Hapaline
       
17 (15) Plant with conspicuous erect aerial stolons bearing numerous barbed bulbils.   23 Remusatia
+ Plant without conspicuous erect aerial stolons, if stolons present then these decumbent and bearing tubercles at tips   (18)
       
18 (17) Mature infructescences declined to pendent; placentation parietal; fruit < 3 mm (to 5 mm in C. gigantea), pale yellow to brown and fruit-smelling when ripe; seeds small, very numerous per fruit.   24 Colocasia
+ Mature infructescences erect; placentation basal; fruit > 4 mm, red when ripe, odorless; seeds large, few per fruit.   25 Alocasia
       
19 (14) Spadix appendix absent (spadix fertile to apex), or if present then usually consisting of clearly defined subglobose sterile (neuter) flowers   (20)
+ Spadix appendix present, ± smooth to rugulose, hairy or echinate, without subglobose sterile (neuter) flowers, or if such sterile flowers present then usually confined to proximal part or base   (21)
       
20 (19) Spathe wholly persistent into fruiting, splitting from base to apex at fruit maturity; spathe free from spadix; spadix appendix absent; vegetative tissues aromatic (terpenoids) when crushed.   11 Homalomena
+ Spathe limb deciduous during anthesis, proximal spathe persisting to fruiting and then splitting from apex to base at fruit maturity; much of female zone of spadix adnate to spathe; spadix appendix present; vegetative tissues not aromatic.   12 Schismatoglottis
       
21 (19) Spadix unisexual, or if bisexual then male and female zones contiguous or separated by sterile zone usually covered with staminodes   (22)
+ Spadix bisexual, male and female zones separated by naked sterile axis (interstice)   (23)
       
22 (21) Leaves variously divided (most commonly pedate to pedatisect but not decompound), very rarely entire; berries ripening reddish.   21 Arisaema
+ Leaves commonly solitary, usually decompound, very rarely pedate, never entire; berries ripening red or blue.   16 Amorphophallus
       
23 (21) Female zone of spadix adnate to spathe.   20 Pinellia
+ Female zone of spadix free   (24)
       
24 (23) Appendix with a whorl of prominent staminodes directly above male zone; placentation parietal.   17 Arum
+ Appendix with a stipelike smooth part below base or contiguous with male zone, whorl of staminodes absent above male zone; placentation basal   (25)
       
25 (24) Sterile zone between female and male zones with smooth naked distal part, base with various numbers of staminodes or whole zone covered with staminodes but then leaves always entire and proximal staminodes spatulate (in T. flagelliforme).   18 Typhonium
+ Sterile zone between female and male zones fully covered with staminodes, or grooved and with staminodes only at base; leaves usually pedate, rarely entire (in S. giganteum); staminodes never spatulate   19 Sauromatum

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