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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/3/2013)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 7/3/2013)
Contributor W. G. D'ARcY
Description Trees or shrubs; pubescence of simple hairs, sometimes multicellular and sclerified with inconspicuous septations; twigs pubescent. Leaves alternate, en- tire or serrate, both sometimes on the same plant, mostly elliptic, mostly glabrous and often shiny above, glabrous or pubescent beneath, often coriaceous, often yellowish green, pinnately veined and the midvein impressed above, elevated in the lower half beneath, vernation involute; petioles short; stipules wanting. In- florescences axillary, mostly short racemes or spikes, sometimes fascicled, short panicles, or solitary flowers; bracts small, often caducous; pedicels present or wanting, often subtended by or bearing bractlets, these sometimes forming an involucre of 1-3 elements. Flowers perfect (Panama) or rarely androdioecious, small; calyx united halfway, the 4-9 sepals imbricate, mostly rounded, often cili- ate; corolla sympetalous, divided halfway or nearly to the base into 3-11 im- bricate petals in 1-2 whorls; stamens 5-100, the filaments basally fused into a short column which is adnate to the corolla tube or petals, the filaments becom- ing thicker and straplike above the column, separating in clusters or singly or remaining fused to high levels, apically contracted into a filiform stipe, the an- thers small, rotund, 2-locular, basifixed, versatile; ovary 2-6 locular with 2-4 anatropous, pendant, epitropous ovules in each locule attached to axile placentas, half or more inferior, the superior portion often cylindrical, flat topped (Panama) glabrous, tomentose, or with a glandular covering, the style single, slender, broader at the base, sometimes furrowed, glabrous or basally pubescent, some- times minutely muricate, the stigma capitate, often demarcated into several small, irregular lobes. Fruits stony drupes surmounted by the calyx lobes, glabrous or pubescent, blue, yellow, brown, or black, mostly elliptical but sometimes obovoid or slightly curved, with 2-6 locules, abortive locules sometimes fusing to form larger cavities and usually 1 seed maturing in each cavity; seed ellipsoidal, some- times slightly bent, the embryo straight or slightly curved, endosperm abundant. Pollen 3-colporate.
Habit Trees or shrubs
Note The literature contains conflicting reports about the septation of the upper portion of the ovary and the placentation in this region. Brand (1901) stressed the fundamental 5-merous condition of the flowers, but the number of parts varies considerably, and as the staminal column is adnate to only the inner petals, the perianth may be considered cyclical. It is also not certain whether the stamens are fundamentally alternate with or undetermined with respect to the petals. Chromosome counts of n = 11 and n = 12 appear in the literature for several species (not Panamanian). . Species of Symplocaceae are well known as accumulators of aluminum which correlates with yellowish green leaf color and blue fruits (Chenery 1948-1949). The foliage of some species is sweet to the taste and is relished by livestock. Some species have been used to make yellow dyes. The family is usually considered to comprise one genus with some 300 species but some workers recognize a section of Indonesian species as the segregate genus Cordyloblaste. Symplocaceae was long considered closely related to the Styra- caceae and included in it by some botanists, but more recent workers have allied it with the Theaceae.
Reference Brand, A. 1901. Symplocaceae. In A. Engler (editor), Das Pflanzenreich. IV. 242 (Heft 6). Chenery, E. M. 1948-1949. Aluminum in the plant world. Kew Bull. 3: 173- 183; 4: 462-473.
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