Smilacaceae

  • J. G. Conran
Chapter
Part of the The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants book series (FAMILIES GENERA, volume 3)

Abstract

Tendriliferous climbers, or rarely twiners or shrubs or vines with perennial or rarely annual, sometimes spiny, aerial shoots up to many metres long from short, woody rhizomes with fibrous roots. Leaves alternate, opposite or verticillate, distichously or decussately arranged, petiolate, paired tendrils mostly present; blades entire, oblong-ovate to ovate or linear-lanceolate, main veins prominent, 3–7, venation distinctly reticulate. Inflorescence axillary or terminal panicles, simple or compound racemes, spikes or ebracteate umbels. Flowers dioecious or hermaphroditic, erect, actinomorphic, hypogynous; pedicels subtended by small scales; tepals in 2 petaloid trimerous whorls, free or fused to form a deep tube (Heterosmilax), with basal nectaries, white, cream, green or reddish. Stamens 3–12 (Heterosmilax) or 6, in 1–3 whorls, filaments free or connate below or for the whole length (Heterosmilax spp.); anthers basifixed, latrorse to introrse, dehiscing longitudinally, bisporangiate (Smilacoideae) or tetrasporangiate (Ripogonoideae). Gynoecium of 3 united carpels, rarely unicarpellate (Smilax); ovary 3-locular with basal or axile placentae; styluli short, spreading, rarely a rudimentary style; ovules atropous or anatropous, borne singly or paired in each loculus. Fruit a black, purple or red berry. Seeds single to several, globose to ovoid-angular, pale yellow to dark brown; embryo minute to 2/3 the length of the seed, linear to capitate; endosperm copious, starchy (Ripogonum) or starchless.

Keywords

Starch Recombination Cretaceous Posite Miocene 

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

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  • J. G. Conran

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