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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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1. Frutos maduros alados, 3 mericarpos; bejucos o arbustos con zarcillos … Gouania

1. Frutos maduros sin alas, drupas o cápsulas; erectos o escandentes pero sin zarcillos

2. Frutos presentes

3. Frutos carnosos, con un solo hueso

4. Hojas con la nervadura principal palmada, con 3 nervios fuertes desde la base; tallos armados … Ziziphus

4. Hojas con la nervadura principal pinnada, a veces con el primer par de nervios secondarios un poco más grande; tallos no armados

5. Hojas opuestas, con (8) 9–16 pares de nervios secondarios; estípulas connadas … Karwinskia

5. Hojas alternas o subopuestas, con 4–8 (9) pares de nervios secondarios; estípulas libres … Krugiodendron

3. Frutos cápsulas secas, o carnosos con 2–3 huesos

6. Frutos cápsulas secas

7. Arbustos; restos de la cúpula floral y disco persistentes sobre el pedicelo … Ceanothus

7. Arboles; restos de la cúpula floral y disco formando parte de la dehiscencia y no persistentes sobre el pedicelo ... Colubrina

6. Frutos drupas carnosas, con 2–3 huesos

8. Hojas alternas; tallos sin aguijones; huesos indehiscentes … Frangula

8. Hojas opuestas o subopuestas; tallos con aguijones; huesos dehiscentes … Sageretia

2. Frutos ausentes

9. Hojas con la nervadura principal palmada, con 3 nervios fuertes desde la base; tallos armados … Ziziphus

9. Hojas con la nervadura pinnada, a veces con el primer par de nervios secondarios un poco más grande; tallos armados o no

10. Flores sin pétalos ... Krugiodendron

10. Flores con pétalos

11. Hojas opuestas o subopuestas

12. Arbustos, a menudo escandentes; tallos armados; inflorescencias terminales o terminales y axilares … Sageretia

12. Arbustos erectos o árboles; tallos inermes; inflorescencias axilares

13. Ovarios inferiores; hojas con 4–5 (6) pares de nervios secondarios; estípulas libres ... Colubrina glandulosa

13. Ovarios súperos; hojas con (8) 9–14  pares de nervios secondarios; estípulas connados ... Karwinskia

11. Hojas alternas o fasciculadas

14. Flores sésiles; por lo menos algunas hojas opuestas … Sageretia

14. Flores con pedicels de 1 mm o más de largo; todas las hojas alternas

15. Flores azules o azuladas  … Ceanothus

15. Flores blancas, blanco-verdosas o blanco-amarillentas

16. Ovario submerido en el disco floral; si las hojas enteras, con glándulas conspicuas en o cerca del margen  … Colubrina

16. Ovario libre y arriba del disco floral; si las hojas enteras, sin glándulas conspicuas … Frangula

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