秋海棠科 qiu hai tang ke
Authors: Cuizhi Gu, Ching-I Peng & Nicholas J. Turland
Perennial succulent herbs, very rarely subshrubs. Stem erect, frequently rhizomatous, or plants tuberous and either acaulescent or shortly stemmed, rarely lianoid or climbing with adventitious roots, or stoloniferous. Leaves simple, rarely palmately compound, alternate or all basal, petiolate, stipules usually deciduous; blade often oblique and asymmetric, rarely symmetric, margin irregularly serrate and divided, occasionally entire, venation usually palmate. Flowers unisexual, plants monoecious, rarely dioecious, (1 or)2-4 to several, rarely numerous in dichotomous cyme, sometimes in panicles, with pedicel and bracts. Staminate flower: tepals 2 or 4 and decussate, usually outer ones larger, inner ones smaller; stamens usually numerous; filaments free or connate at base; anthers 2-celled, apical or lateral. Pistillate flower: tepals 2-5(-10), usually free, rarely connate at base; ovary nodding, pendulous, or ascending, 1-3-, rarely 4-8-loculed; placentae axile or parietal; styles 2 or 3(or more), free or fused at base, forked once or more; stigma turgid, spirally twisted-tortuous or U-shaped, capitate or reniform and setose-papillose. Capsule dry, sometimes berrylike, unequally or subequally 3-winged, rarely wingless and 3- or 4-horned; seeds very numerous, minute, oblong, testa pale brown, reticulate.
Two or three genera and more than 1400 species: widely distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world; one genus and 173 species (141 endemic) in China.
Ku Tsuechih. 1999. Begoniaceae. In: Ku Tsuechih, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 52(1): 126-269.