Ghillean T. Prance
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK.
Trees or shrubs. Leaves simple, heterophyllous, in spirals or alternate, or four ranked, the margins entire, secondary veins palmately veined (3-5-plinerved). Stipules absent or minute. Inflorescence of axillary racemes or panicles. Flowers monoecious; calyx 4-lobed; petals 4, valvate, clawed or laciniate in Anisophyllea R.Br. ex Sabine; anthers 8, in two whorls, obdiplosteminous; epigynoous disc present; ovary inferior, 4-carpelled, syncarpous, ovules 1-2 per carpel, pendulous; styles 4. Fruit indehiscent, dry or drupe or a samara, one seeded (in Polygonanthus Ducke); germination hypogeal. n = 7, 8.
Notes on delimitation
- Often formerly placed in Rhizophoraceae but differs in the spirally arranged exstipulate leaves and distinct styles and in the petals not aristate.
- Now placed in the Cucurbitales by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group near to Begoniaceae.
Distribution in the Neotropics
- Pantropical with four genera, two of which are Neotropical.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
Few defining characters:
- Leaves often drying yellowish and often asymmetrical at base
- Palmate venation
- Clawed or lacinate petals in Anisophyllea
- Winged samara in Polygonanthus
Useful tips for generic identification
Key to genera of Neotropical Anisophyllaceae
- Polygonanthus endemic to Brazilian Amazonia
- Anisophyllea also occurs in the Old World
Schwarbach, A. E. 2000. Systematic affinities of Rhizophoraceae and Anisophyllaceae, and intergeneric relationships within the Rhizophoraceae, based on chloroplast DNA, nuclear ribosomal DNA, and morphology. Am. Jour. Bot. 87:547-564.
How to cite
Prance, G.T. (2009). Neotropical Anisophylleaceae. In: Milliken, W., Klitgård, B. & Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics. http://www.kew.org/science/tropamerica/neotropikey/families/Anisophylleaceae.htm.