In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Characters of Flacourtiaceae 2. Affinities of Flacourtiaceae 3. Distribution 4. Economic Importance.
Characters of Flacourtiaceae:
Plants, shrubs or trees, monoecious or dioecious; flowers hermaphrodite, actinomorphic; numerous stamens; the variously modified disc and often enlarged receptacle,; undifferentiated perianth; anthers often attenuate or appendaged; a disc present between stamens and pistils; carpels 2-10.
A. Vegetative characters:
Mostly large shrubs or trees reraly climbers, plants monoecious or dioecious as in Pangium.
Tap, deep, branched.
Erect, branched, stout.
Alternate rarely opposite, 2-ranked, simple, coriaceous, persistent, stipulate, stipule caducous.
B. Floral characters:
Axillary or terminal raceme or terminal cymose, rarely solitary.
Hermaphrodite, sometimes unisexual, polygamous in monoecious or dioecious plants; tetra or many merous, cyclic.
Sepals 2-15, equal, free, usually distinct, rarely united, imbricate usually, rarely valvate persistent. Sometimes calyx undifferentiated from corolla.
Petals absent or present, as many as sepals, free inserted often outside the hypogynous or perigynous disc. The torus is often concave in the middle forming a cup and with scaly or glandular appendages of various forms which are inserted outside or between the stamens.
Stamens generally numerous, than the perianth numbers, often indefinite in one or more whorls, free or in bundles opposite the petals; filameuts long, ranely short, very rarely petaloid, never with appendages; anthers bithecous, of various shapes; dehiscing longitudinally.
Carpels 2-10, syncarpous, unilocular, superier or semi-inferior, parietal placentation, ovules numerous on each placenta; style one or as many carpels and distinct; stigma various.
Berry or capsule loculicidal.
Copious endosperm, arillate, straight embryo.
Entomophilous-due to (i) large & showy flowers, sweet scent (ii) inner and extra floral nectaries and (iii) attractive infloresence.
Aiffinities of Flacourtiaceae:
Bentham and Hooker included the members of the family Flacourtiaceae in the Natural orders Bixineae and Samydaceae which stand far apart from each other. Later all the genera under N.O. Bixineae except Bixa and Samydaceae were placed in the family Flacourtiaceae under order Parictales by Gilg. Hutchinson placed the family Flacourtiaceae in the order Bixales under group Lignosae.
The family Flacourtiaceae stands close to the family Elaeocarpaceae of the order Malvales from which it differs in parietal placentation and one celled ovary. The genus Erythrospermum resembles Capparidaceae but differs from the same in having endospermous seed and straight embryo.
It bears relationship with Violaceae also, but differs in having actinomorphic flowers. The genus Casearia bears close affinity with Caricaceae.
Common plants of the family:
1. Flacourtia indica,
2. Gynocardia odorata,
3. Casearia tomentosa,
4. Homalium schlichii, and
5. Xylosma longifolium.
Distribution of Flacourtiaceae:
Flaccourtiaceare with 84 grenra having 800 species. It is distributed in the tropical countries of the world. Casearia has wide range in distribution. It is met in every part of India and all parts of the world except extreme north.
Economic Importance of Flacourtiaceae:
Many plants yield edible fruits such as Dovyalis caffra produces kei apples; Flacourtia indica yields sweet edible berries.
Hydnocarpus kurzii is the source of ‘Chaulmoogra oil’ infallible remedy for skin diseases, the oil is prepared from seeds.
Casearia praecox is a timber tree, it produces box wood.
Azara, Beriberi-dopsis, Carrierea, Idesia and Xylosma are cultivated as ornamentals.
Division of the family and chief genera:
Tribe I: Erythrospermae:
Flowers bisexual. Perianth usually many, spiral. Stamens 5-8 with linear anthers. Fruit capsule. Gen.: Eythrospermum, Berberidopsis.
Tribe II: Oncobeae:
Flowers bisexual. Sepals 3-5, Petals 4-12, imbricate. Stamens as above. Ovary chamber with many ovules. Fruit indehiscent or tardily dehiscent. Gen.: Oncoba, Mayna etc.
Tribe III : Pangieae:
Flowers unisexual in dioeceous plants; sepals 2-5, petals 5-8 with scales at the bases. Stamens 5-many. Ovules 1-many in ovary. Fruit berry or capsule. Gen.: Gynocardia, Pangium, Hydnocarpus etc.
Tribe IV: Flacourtieae:
Flowers unisexual in dioceous plants ; sepals 4-6, petals absent usually. Stamens many, anthers short. Fruit berry or capsule. Gen.: Fldcourtia, Xylosma etc.
Tribe V: Scolopieae:
Flowers perigynous, bisexual; sepals 4-6, valvate; petals small or absent. Stamens many, anthers short. Ovary cell with many to one ovule, Gen. Scolopia, Proekia etc.
Tribe VI: Paropsieae:
Flowers bisexual, perigynous usually; gynophore like tubular disc is present; sepals 5; petals 5, corona is present often. Stamens indefinite many to definite, 9-5 sometimes, sometimes at the base of gynophore, stamens some-time connate. Ovary chamber with many ovules. Gen.: Barteria, Paropsia.
Tribe VII: Casearieae:
Flowers perigynous, bisexual, sepals 4-5, imbricate; petals absent. Ovary cell with 2-many ovules. Gen.: Casearia, Samyda.
Tribe VIII: Abatieae:
Flowers perigynous, bisexual; sepals 4, valvate; petals absent. Stamens 8-many. Ovary chamber with many ovules. Leaves opposite. Gen.: Aatiba.
Tribe IX: Homalieae:
Flowers bixexual, peri to epigynous; sepals 4-15; petals the same number. Stamens 4-15 or many, polygamous or clustered. Gen.: Homalium.
Tribe X: Phyllobotryeae:
Flowers bisexual or polygamous; sepals and petals 3-5 each. Stamens 5-inany. Ovary cell with many ovules. Leaves alternate with epiphyllous inflorescence. Gen.: Phyllobtrium.