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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/10/2013)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 7/10/2013)
Family VALERIANACEAE
Contributor FREDERICK G. MEYER
Description Annual or perennial herbs, or rarely shrubs, mostly erect, sometimes clamber- ing, rarely voluble, occasionally caespitose, characteristically foetid when dry, unarmed, glabrous or with simple hairs, with creeping rhizomes or taproots, sometimes subnapiform and turniplike, the stems usually fistulose, subscapose or leafy, terete or occasionally more or less quadrangular. Leaves opposite, simple or compound, often imparipinnate, rarely ternate, cauline, sometimes strongly crowded and thickened, or basal, occasionally forming a dense cushion "polster," the leaves and leaflets entire to variously serrate, dentate or incised to pinnatisect, membranous to subcarnose or subcoriaceous, the bases often sheathing, glabrous or when pubescent the hairs short, glands and stipules absent; leaflets sessile or short-petiolulate. Inflorescences determinate, thyrsoid or cymose, many- or rarely few-flowered, terminal and axillary, more or less pyramidal, open and diffuse to glomerate, sometimes caespitose on a thickened convex cushionlike head, some- times corymbiform, the cymes more or less flat-topped, the ultimate dichotomies sometimes scorpioid; bracts and bracteoles present, free or sometimes connate and sheathlike. Flowers entomophilous, perfect, polygamous, dioecious or poly- gamodioecious (usually gynodioecious), epigynous, irregular or nearly regular in unisexual flowers, (1-3-)5-merous; calyx epigynous, adnate to the ovary, the limb crateriform, erect to urceolate, toothed, or the segments inrolled at anthesis and later expanded and pappuslike with plumose setae; corolla superior, gamo- petalous, infundibuliform to subsalverform, campanulate to rotate, often gibbous or spurred at the base, sometimes bilabiate, white, yellow, or red, the limb 5-lobed, rarely 4-6-lobed, the lobes usually unequal, imbricate in bud, glabrous without, sometimes pilosulous or short-sericeous in the throat; stamens 1-4 by reduction, inserted on the corolla tube, alternate with the corolla lobes, included and ses- sile or the filaments exserted, the anthers dorsifixed and versatile, usually 2-lobed, introrse, dehiscing longitudinally, the thecae usually somewhat lunate and op- posed, sulcate, the locules equal in length or 4-lobed, the ventral locules of each theca slightly longer than the dorsal and essentially parallel; pollen 3-col- porate; ovaiy inferior, 3-locular with 2 locules abaxial and sterile, 1 median, adaxial and fertile, opposite a bracteole, the ovules 1 per locule and aborting in two locules, pendular from the apex of the locule, anatropous, the style simple, fili- form, included or exserted, the stigmas 3, erect or spreading, sometimes papillate. Fruits cypselate achenes, rarely adnate to the peduncle and connate, dry and in- dehiscent, often nutlike, glabrous or pubescent, 1-seeded, adaxial veins 3, 1 me- dian, 2 peripheral, abaxial veins 3, the sterile locules flat, sometimes lobulate or rarely winglike and strongly veined, the adnate calyx limb persistent, coronate, unlobed or variously lobed or setulose and pappuslike; seed with a straight em- bryo, the endosperm absent. Chromosome numbers, x = 7, 8, 9, 11.
Habit herbs
Distribution Valerianaceae is a family of about 14 genera with about 400 species, distributed in all the continents except Australia.
Note Most species occur in temperate regions or on tropical mountains. Five genera occur in the Old World. The nine New World genera are concentrated largely in South America, where the greatest morphological diversity in the family occurs, including species with a woody and also a cushion-forming habit. The type genus is Valeriana. As a member of the Rubiales, the Valerianaceae is chiefly an herbaceous group most closely related to the Dipsacaceae. Typically, Valerianaceae are identified by the cymose inflorescence, irregular, often gibbose or spurred pentamerous flowers, a reduction in number of stamens, an ovary with 1 perfect, 1-ovulate locule and often 2 empty locules, and calyx lobes much reduced or sometimes becoming plumose and pappuslike. When dry, many members of the family emit a characteristic pungent odor. Various members of the family are used medicinally, in particular, species of Nardostachys and Valeriana. The Panamanian taxa have no known uses. In Panama, the Valerianceae consists of two genera, Astrephia, which is mono- typic, and Valeriana, with five taxa.
Reference Weberling, F. 1961. Die Infloreszenzen der Valerianaceen und ihre sys- tematische Bedeutung. Akad. Wiss. Abh. Math.-Naturwiss. K1. 1961 (5): 155-281.
Key a. Achenes adnate to the base of the peduncle, those of the ultimate branches usually con- nate; inflorescences few-flowered, long-pedunculate; cymes not scorpioid ...... 1. Astrephia aa. Achenes free, axillary in a bract; inflorescences many-flowered; cymes scorpioid ...... 2. Valeriana
 
 
 
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