Paul J.M. Maas & Hiltje Maas-van de Kamer
National Herbarium of the Netherlands (Wageningen branch), Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Shrubs, rarely exceeding 2 m in height, sometimes epiphytic. Leaves alternate, simple, with 3-5 prominent veins from near the base, margins entire, dentate or spinose, apex acute, obtuse or minutely 3-fid. Inflorescences axillary racemes or panicles. Flowers unisexual and plants dioecious; hypanthium campanulate; sepals 5, very small, soon falling; petals 5 in staminate flowers, greenish yellow, very small, imbricate, free, strongly reflexed at anthesis; petals absent in pistillate flowers; disc present; stamens 5, anthers dithecal, longitudinally dehiscent, latrorse, dorsifixed; ovary inferior, 2-locular, only 1 locule fertile, styles and stigmas 3, placentation axile, ovule 1. Fruits drupaceous, blackish. Seed 1.
Notes on delimitation
- In the APG III system (Stevens, 2008; APG III, 2009) the Griseliniaceae are placed in the order Apiales close to Araliaceae, as previously suggested by Takhtajan (2009).
- The family Griseliniaceae has in the past been placed in the Cornaceae by Cronquist (1981) who placed that family in the order Cornales.
- For an extensive discussion about the position of the family see Dillon & Muņoz-Schick (1993).
Distribution in the Neotropics
- Monogeneric family occurring in Chile, Argentina, and SE Brazil, with 7 species, 5 in Latin America (2 spp. in New Zealand).
- Griselinia Forst. & Forst. evergreen rain or moist forest (Argentina and Chile), Araucaria forest and Atlantic coastal forest (the only true Neotropical species G. ruscifolia (Gay)Ball var. itatiaiae (wawra)Taub.) also in loma vegetation (Chile), at elevations from 400-2,700 m.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
- Low dioecious shrubs, sometimes epiphytic on Araucaria or Podocarpus species.
- Leaves alternate, simple, with 3-5 prominent veins from near the base, margins entire, dentate or spinose.
- Flowers unisexual, very small; sepals 5, soon falling off; petals 5, very small, persisting in staminate flowers, absent in pistillate flowers; ovary inferior, 2-locular.
Key differences from similar families
- Araliaceae is closest to this family but Griseliniaceae lack resin ducts, umbels, and stipules found in that family.
- Griselinia is native in the Neotropics.
- The genus is not cultivated.
A.P.G. III. 2009. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Bot. J. Linnean Soc. 161: 105-121.
Cronquist, A. 1981. An integrated system of classification of flowering plants. Columbia University Press, New York.
Dillon, M.O. & Muņoz-Schick, M. 1993. A revision of the dioecious genus Griselinia (Griseliniaceae), including a new species from the coastal Atacama Desert of northern Chile. Brittonia 45: 261-274.
Maas, P.J.M. & Westra, L.Y.Th. 2005. Neotropical Plant Families. A concise guide of vascular plants in the Neotropics. 3rd ed., p. 294. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag K.G., Ruggell.
Takhtajan, A. 1997. Flowering Plants. 2nd edition. Springer Verlag, Berlin.
How to cite
Maas, P.J.M. & Maas-van de Kamer, H. (2012). Neotropical Griseliniaceae. 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/Griseliniaceae.htm.