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Published In: Genera Plantarum 376–377. 1789. (4 Aug 1789) (Gen. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/3/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 8/19/2013)
Changes: Description change


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Marshall C. Johnston/ modified AP 19 Aug 2013

Tree and shrubs, erect, scandent, or climbing, lianas, rarely vines or herbs, sometimes armed, sometimes with bud scales. Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, or fasciculate on short-shoots, sometimes (not Nicaragua) reduced to absent, venation pinnate, sometimes with proximal pair of lateral veins from base, or less frequently 3 or 5 palmately-veined, often with glands, margin entire to serrate; stipules usually present, caducous to persistent, sometimes fused intrapetiolarly, small to large, unlobed or often lobed in Gouania; petioles usually present, often with a marked line of abscission. Inflorescences usually axillary, but sometimes terminal or terminal and axillary, basically composed of cymes or flowers fascicled, the cymes sometimes corymbose, umbelliform, racemose, simple or compound, sometimes arranged in panicles or thyrses, sometimes reduced to one flower, pedunculate or sessile. Flowers small (3—6 mm in diameter Medan & Schirarend, 2004), bisexual or unisexual (plants sometime dioecious), usually protandrous, actinomorphic, in Mesoamerica 5-merous except 4-merous in Rhamnus elsewhere sometimes 3, 6 or 8-merous, usually dull-colored (white, green, yellow), rarely brightly colored (in Mesoamerica blue, Ceanothus); usually pedicellate but sometimes sessile (Sageretia, in Nicaragua). Hypanthium patelliform to tubular or funnelform (elsewhere sometimes absent), at the rim bearing sepals, petals and stamens, sometimes apical portion fusing to and dehiscing with fruit (Colubrina), sometimes circumscissile (Frangula). Sepals valvate in bud, usually with adaxial keel. Petals rarely absent (Krugiodendron in Nicaragua), usually less conspicuous than the sepals, often concave and/or hooded and folded around stamens at anthesis (or throughout flowering around staminodes in functionally unisexual taxa), usually differentiated into limb and claw. Stamens in one whorl, opposite petals, filaments linear or wider towards base, anthers longitudinally dehiscent; Gouania with chartaceous disk lobes (possibly staminodial in origin) opposite the sepals. Disc intrastaminal, nectiferous, thin to fleshy, entire to crenulate, hypogynous to epigynous, sometimes fused to and dehiscing with fruit (Colubrina). Ovary inferior to superior, or frequently difficult to define as either and position changing relative to other floral part as fruit develops, (1) 2—4-locular with 1 or 2 ovules per locules, the locules sometimes only partially separated. Fruits more or less fleshy drupes with 1—4 usually indehiscent, or less frequently dehiscent stones (Sageretia in Nicaragua); or dry and capsular and the mesocarp and epicarp, dehiscing with the endocarpids, or breaking and falling irregularly (Ceanothus and Colubrina in Nicaragua) or schizocarps (with three two winged mericarps in Nicaragua, Gouania). Seeds 1—4 per stone, or 1 per mericarp or endocarpid; endosperm usually poorly developed or absent (in Nicaragua); cotyledons flat or convex. 

An almost cosmopolitan family of ca. 53 genera, a number of the genera (especially in the Rhamneae) lacking clear generic boundaries, and ca. 925 species; 7 géneros y 17 especies han sido colectados en Nicaragua y 1 género y 3 especies más se esperan encontrar.

Fl. Guat. 24(6): 277–293. 1949; Fl. Pan. 58: 267–283. 1971.


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Rhamnaceae key Nicaragua
1. Mature fruits schizocarps with three two winged mericarps; flowers with disk lobes chartaceous and opposite the sepals; lianas or scandent shrubs, climbing by circinate tendrils …Gouania
1. Fruits without wings; drupaceous or capsular; flowers without chartaceous disk lobes; plants erect to scandent but without tendrils
@2. Fruits present
@@3. Fruits fleshy drupes (sometimes not very fleshy and/or exocarp somewhat woody) with one stone
@@@4. Leaves with venation palmate with 3 strong veins from base, sometimes with 1 (rarely --3) additional pairs of lateral veins visible above base; plants armed with thorns or spines … Ziziphus
@@@4. Leaves with pinnate venation with 4—16 pairs of lateral veins, spines and thorns absent
@@@@5. Leaves opposite with (8) 9—16 pairs of lateral veins, the veins close and parallel only curving upward at the leaf margin and usually with franjas alternas de coloración obscura y más pálida observable on abaxial surface; stipules connate;  seeds with endosperm present, cotyledons flat … Karwinskia
@@@@5. Leaves, alternate, opposite, or sub-opposite with 4—8 (9) pairs of lateral veins, the veins curving upward well before the leaf margin, without stripes; stipules free; seeds with endosperm absent, cotyledons convex…Krugiodendron
@@3. Fruits dry and capsular or drupaceous and fleshy but with more than one stone
@@@6. Fruit dry and capsular, the epicarp and mesocarp sometimes dehiscing with the endocarpids or breaking away and falling off independent of endocarpid dehiscence
@@@@7. Hypanthium and disc not fused to fruit, remaining on pedicel after fruit dehisces and falls, mesocarp and epicarp, dehiscing with endocarpid, or breaking and falling irregularly; perianth and stamens lost (often tardily) below base of fruit; columnella absent … Ceanothus
@@@@7. Apical portion of hypanthium and the disc fused to mesocarp and epicarp, apparent by scars of perianth and stamens on “fruit” and often disc drying with different color or texture than ovary only portion of “fruit,” either dehiscing with endocarpid or breaking and falling irregularly with mesocarp and epicarp; only the base of hypanthium remaining on pedicel after fruit dehisces and falls; columnella present or absent…. Colubrina
@@@6. Fruits fleshy drupes with more than one stone, the mesocarp and epicarp not dehiscing, the stones, dehiscent or indehiscent embedded in the fleshy mesocarp
@@@@8. Leaves alternate; thorns absent; stones ellipsoid and indehiscent; seeds with a hard cartilaginous thickening that protrudes through a basal opening in the stone as a beak-like rostrum … Frangula
@@@@8. Leaves opposite, sub-opposite and/or alternate; thorns present; stones asymmetrically obcordate, dehiscing on adaxial face in line from base to apex of one of the lobes continuing over top of lobe to distal half on abaxial face; seeds without a basal hard cartilaginous thickening, totally contained in stone before dehiscence … Sageretia
@2 Fruits absent
@@9. Leaves with venation palmate with 3 strong veins from base. … Ziziphus
@@9. Leaves with pinnate venation (sometimes with most proximal pair of lateral veins originating with midrib at junction of petiole and blade, but these not, or little stronger than more distal lateral veins, and not as strong as midrib)
@@@10. Flowers without petals; sepals with strong depressions on either side of keel, keel weakly crenulate to highly and irregularly ornamented .… Krugiodendron
@@@10. Flowers with petals present; sepals without strong depressions on either side of keel, keel not crenulate nor ornamented
@@@@11. Leaves opposite or subopposite
@@@@@12. Plants armed; inflorescences terminal or terminal and axillary spikes or panicles of spikes with sessile flowers; shrubs, frequently scandent. …Sageretia
@@@@@13. Plants unarmed; inflorescences axillary simple or compound cymes, flowers pedicellate with pedicel 1--5 mm; trees or shrubs, erect.
@@@@@@14. Flowers with inferior ovaries; leaves with 4 or 5 (6) pairs of lateral veins, veins without stripes, leaves often with rows of glands paralleling margin on abaxial surface and the most proximal with swelling on adaxial surface; stipules free. …. Colubrina (C. glandulosa)
@@@@@@14. Flowers with superior ovaries; leaves with (8) 9—14 pairs of lateral veins, the veins usually with franjas alternas de coloración obscura y más pálida observable on abaxial surface; glands, if present, randomly arranged and without swelling on adaxial surface; stipules basally connate…Karwinskia
@@@@11. Leaves alternate or fasciculate on short-shoots
@@@@@15. Flowers sessile, arranged in spikes or panicles of spikes, usually at least some leaves opposite… Sageretia
@@@@@15. Flowers pedicellate with pedicels 1 mm or longer, arranged in cymes, thyrses or fascicles or flowers solitary; all leaves alternate
@@@@@@16. Flowers with petals and sepals blue or rarely white, sepals at anthesis incurved;inflorescences terminal, or in distal axils … Ceanothus
@@@@@@16. Flowers with sepals green and petals white, greenish-white, or yellow-green,sepals at anthesis erect, spreading, or recurved; inflorescences axillary
@@@@@@@17. Floral disk epigynous, marginally adnate to hypanthium and broadly annular nearly filling mouth of hypanthium excluding small central annulus or narrower and forming an open ring, ovary below level of disk at anthesis; some species with leaves entire and with very conspicuous glands on or near margin…  Colubrina
@@@@@@@17. Floral disk hypogynous; lining the inner surface of the hypanthium and ovary above level of disk; if leaves entire, without conspicuous glands…Frangula
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