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Rhamnaceae

M. QAISER AND S. NAZIMUDDIN


Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi.

Ziziphus oxyphylla
Illustration

Credit: M. Rafiq

Trees or shrubs, rarely climbers. Leaves simple, alternate, or sub-opposite, coriacious, 3-8 nerved, generally stipulate, evergreen or deciduous, sometimes modified into spines. Inflorescence axillary cymes, corymbs, racemes, spikes, or panicles or fasciculate; flowers hermaphrodite, rarely unisexual, actinomorphic, small, perigynous. Calyx tubular, 5-rarely4-or 6-lobed. Petals 5, rarely 4 or 6, sometimes absent, usually clawed and cucullate. Stamens as many as petals, inserted opposite to the petals, often enclosed within their folds. Disc fleshy, intra-staminal, filling and covering the hypanthium, glabrous, rarely tomentose, ovary superior to inferior, (1-) 2-3 (-4) locular, ovule 1 in each locule, style 2-4 fid. Fruit often drupaceous, pyrenes 1-3 (-4), 1-2 seeded, or capsule, rarely samaroid. Seed with a large erect embryo, endosperm copious or scanty.

A family of about 58 genera and nearly 900 species, cosmopolitan in distribution but mainly in tropics and subtropics. Represented in Pakistan by 6 genera and c. 21 species.

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under PL-480. Thanks are also due to Mr. I.C. Hedge of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, for going through the manuscript.


1 Erect shrubs or trees, rarely scandent   (2)
+ Plants climbing by means of tendrils   1 Helinus
       
2 (1) Fruit with 1-3 pyrenes each 1-2-seeded   (3)
+ Fruit (2-) 3 (-4) pyrenes or cocci which are 1 seeded; (testa membranous or crustaceous)   (5)
       
3 (2) Leaves 3(-5) nerved; stipules spiny   5 Ziziphus
+ Leaves penninerved; stipules not spiny   (4)
       
4 (3) Ovary incompletely 2-celled. Drupe with 1 pyrene   4 Rhamnella
+ Ovary completely 2-celled. Drupe with 2 pyrenes   2 Berchemia
       
5 (2) Flowers sessile in terminal panicles. Disc fleshy filling the calyx tube. Leaves opposite, rarely sub-oppsite   3 Sageretia
+ Flowers pedicellate in axillary fascicles or in simple or compound racemes. Disc not fleshy, thin and lining the calyx tube. Leaves mosty alternate   6 Rhamnus

Lower Taxa


 

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