KAMAL AKHTER MALIK
Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi-32.
Trees, shrubs or rarely climbers, usually with milky juice, commonly beset with 2-armed hairs. Leaves alternate, simple, entire, usually coriaceous, pinnately veined and usually exstipulate. Flowers solitary or in cymose clusters in the leaf axils or above the scars of the fallen leaves, usually bisexual, actinomorphic, small; pedicel bracteate or ebracteate. Calyx usually of 4-6 (-8-12) sepals in 2 whorls or spirally arranged, imbricate, free or slightly connate at the base, persistent. Corolla gamopetalous, lobes as many as or twice as many as lobes of calyx, uniseriate or biseriate, imbricate, sometimes with lateral or dorsal appendages; corolla tube short, campanulate or urceolate. Stamens epipetalous, as many as the corolla lobes and opposite to them, in 1-3 whorls, but usually only inner whorl fertile, often alternating with staminodes; filaments usually short, anthers oblong-lanceolate, opening lengthwise. Ovary superior, 1-8 (-10) or more-loculed, with one or more anatropous ovules in each cell; style simple; stigma minute. Fruit a berry. Seeds few or one, ellipsoid, often with shining testa, compressed. Embryo large.
A family of 35-75 ill-defined genera and c. 800 species, distributed in the tropical regions of the world. Represented in Pakistan by 6 genera and 7 species; only Monotheca buxifolia is native.
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Dr. Willem Meijer (Thomas Hunt Morgan School of Biological Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington) for kindly going through the manuscript and offering suggestions for its improvement. The financial assistance received from United States Department of Agriculture under P.L. 480 with the coordination of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad, is thankfully acknowledged.