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Malpighiaceae A. L. Jussieu


Description from Flora of China

Shrubs, small trees, or woody lianas, pubescence a mix of medifixed (T-shaped) and simple hairs, monoecious or andro-dioecious. Leaves usually opposite, rarely alternate or 3-whorled, petiolate, simple, entire, glands often present either on petiole or on lower surface of leaves; stipules free and deciduous, or connate and ± persistent, sometimes reduced or absent. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, racemose, corymbose or umbellate, solitary or in panicles; pedicels articulate, 2-bracteolate at point of attachment. Flowers bisexual or staminate (in Ryssopterys), actinomorphic or zygomorphic. Sepals 5, polysepalous or gamosepalous, imbricate, rarely valvate, one or more large glandular at bases of outside members, rarely eglandular. Petals 5, typically clawed, margin ciliate, dentate or fimbriate. Disk inconspicuous. Stamens 10, obdiplostemonous, sometimes diadelphous with one stamen distinctly larger than others; filaments usually connate at base; anthers introrse, longitudinally dehiscent. Ovary superior, 3-locular, placenta axile, 1-ovuled, pendulous and semianatropous in each locule; styles 3, or connate into 1, persistent. Fruit a schizocarp, carpels 3 or fewer, 1 seed per carpel; schizocarp splitting into winged samaras, indehiscent. Seed embryo large, erect or rarely curved; endosperm lacking.

Two cultivated species were described in FRPS (43(3): 129. 1997): Malpighia coccigera Linnaeus, grown in Guangdong and Hainan, and Thyrallis gracilis Kuntze, grown in Guangdong and Yunnan (Xishuangbanna).

Chen Shukun & Chen Pangyu. 1997. Malpighiaceae. In: Chen Shukun, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 43(3): 105-131.

About 65 genera and ca. 1280 species: tropical and subtropical regions, mainly American; four genera and 21 species (12 endemic) in China.

(Authors: Chen Shukun (陈书坤); A. Michele Funston)

Lower Taxa


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