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Loranthaceae A. L. Jussieu



Credit: Trees and shrubs of the Andes of Ecuador

Description from Flora of China

Shrubs, usually aerial hemiparasites on other seed plants, often spreading along host by runners (epicortical roots), more rarely terrestrial root-parasitic shrubs or trees, nodes not articulated, glabrous or hairy, hairs often stellate or verticillate. Leaves opposite or alternate, stipules absent; petiole often indistinct; leaf blade simple, usually pinnately veined, margin entire. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, racemes, spikes, or umbels (sometimes condensed into heads); bracts usually inconspicuous, sometimes forming conspicuous involucre (in Tolypanthus). Flowers usually bisexual, rarely unisexual (plants dioecious), 4-6-merous, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, often conspicuous. Calyx adnate to the ovary, limb annular to cupular, entire or shortly toothed, persistent. Petals usually 4-6, free or connate, valvate. Disk usually inconspicuous to ± absent. Stamens as many as petals, opposite and adnate to them; anthers mostly basifixed, sometimes dorsifixed, 2-4-loculed, dehiscence longitudinal, locules sometimes with many transverse divisions so as to be multilocellate. Pollen oblate or suboblate, usually trilobate, or triangular. Ovary inferior, 1- or 3- or 4-loculed, without true ovules, embryo sacs originating from a central column or at the ovary base, integument absent. Style simple; stigma small. Fruit a berry (rarely a drupe or capsule), with a viscin layer (sticky mucilaginous tissue) outside the vascular bundles. Seed 1; testa absent; endosperm copious; embryo large.

Some species, including Macrosolen cochinchinensis, Scurrula parasitica, and several species of Taxillus, are used medicinally. Some species, particularly Scurrula parasitica and related species, can be troublesome parasites of fruit trees and other cultivated woody plants.

Between 60 and 68 genera and 700–950 species: primarily in tropical and subtropical regions; eight genera and 51 species (18 endemic) in China.

(Authors: Qiu Huaxing (邱华兴 Chiu Hua-hsing, Kiu Hua-xing) ; Michael G. Gilbert)

Kiu Hua-shing. 1988. Loranthoideae. In: Kiu Hua-shing & Ling Yeou-ruenn, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 24: 87–139.

  • List of lower taxa


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