1. Loranthaceae Juss.

    1. This family is accepted.

[FWTA]

Loranthaceae, S. Balle. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:2. 1958

Habit
Parasitic shrubs on trees, or rarely erect terrestrial trees or shrubs
Leaves
Leaves mostly opposite or whorled, simple, entire, sometimes reduced to scales, rarely alternate; stipules absent
Flowers
Flowers mostly actinomorphic, bisexual or unisexual, often brightly coloured
Receptacle
Receptacle sometimes with a calyx-like rim (calyculus)
Perianth
Perianth-segments valvate, free or united high up into a tube which is often split down one side
Androecium
Stamens the same number as the perianth-segments and inserted on them or at their base; anthers 2-celled or rarely 1-celled, sometimes divided into numerous small cells, opening lengthwise or by pores or transverse slits
Nectaries
Disk present or absent
Sterile Parts
Rudimentary ovary sometimes (not in Africa) present in male, staminodes in female
Gynoecium
Ovary inferior, usually without a distinct placenta and ovule; style simple or absent, stigma more or less capitate
Fruits
Fruit a berry or drupe
Seeds
Seed solitary, without a distinct testa; endosperm present or absent; embryo large
[FZ]

Flora Zambesiaca. Vol. 9, Part 3. Polygonaceae-Myriaceae. Pope GV, Polhill RM, Martins ES. 2006.

Habit
Shrubs hemiparasitic on the branches (or elsewhere rarely the roots) of other dicotyledons, attached by woody haustoria, with or without surface runners producing secondary haustoria, generally evergreen Shrubs hemiparasitic on the branches (or elsewhere rarely the roots) of other dicotyledons, attached by woody haustoria, with or without surface runners producing secondary haustoria, generally evergreen
Stamens
Stamens as many as petals, epipetalous; anther basifixed in Africa, 2–4-thecous, sometimes locellate, opening lengthwise
Ovary
Ovary (receptacle) inferior, with 1–several obscure locules and lacking differentiated ovules; style and stigma simple
Seeds
Seeds without a testa, normally surrounded by a sticky layer developed from fruit-wall outside the vascular bundles. Seeds without a testa, normally surrounded by a sticky layer developed from fruit-wall outside the vascular bundles
Note
The aerial stem-parasites commonly known as mistletoes belong to several families, of which the major ones are Loranthaceae and Viscaceae. These two families were formerly regarded as subfamilies, but are now considered to have originated separately. They differ principally in that Loranthaceae have hermaphrodite flowers with a calyx and showy corolla, while Viscaceae have small inconspicuous flowers and only one perianth whorl. The precarious mode of establishment is, however, similar in most genera of both. The sticky seeds are dispersed by birds, principally tinkerbirds in Africa. The modified hypocotyl forms a pad that adheres to the host-branch to form the haustorium. This penetrates the host to connect with its xylem vessels to permit further growth of the seedling; secondary haustoria are sometimes produced on runners spreading over the host branches, as seen in Plicosepalus and Vanwykia. The least specialized genera of Loranthaceae occur in southern South America, New Zealand and Australia. Two genera, Helixanthera and Taxillus, occur both in Asia and Africa, but the other 19 genera now recognized in Africa, Arabia and Madagascar are all restricted to the region and seem to have undergone most of their radiation there. They may be attributed to two groups of genera. The Tapinanthoid group (genera 1–11) has simple or irregularly branched hairs. The Taxilloid group (genera 12–16) has hairs with whorls of branches (stellate or dendritic). The bracts of these two groups also tend to differ, cupular in the first, unilateral in the latter. The currently accepted genera are largely coincident with the sections adopted in much of the African literature, notably the masterly accounts by Sprague in the Flora of Tropical Africa (1910–1911) and the Flora Capensis (1915), modified from the earlier works by Engler, who described the majority of the common species from tropical Africa around the turn of the century. Segregate classifications have been advocated by van Tieghem in the 1890s, Danser in the 1930s, Balle in the 1950–1960s and by ourselves and our co-workers since the 1970s. For further discussion of the biology and biogeography see Kuijt, The Biology of Parasitic Flowering Plants (1969); Barlow & Wiens, The cytogeography of loranthaceous mistletoes, in Taxon 20: 291–312 (1971); Visser, South African Parasitic Flowering Plants (1981); Calder & Bernhardt (eds), The Biology of Mistletoes (1983); Feehan, Explosive flower opening in ornithophily: a study of pollination mechanisms in some Central African Loranthaceae, in J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 90: 129–144 (1985); Polhill, Speciation patterns in African Loranthaceae, in Holm-Nielsen, Nielsen and Balslev (eds), Tropical Forests: 221–236 (1989); Polhill & Wiens, Mistletoes of Africa (1998); S. J. Vermeulen, Distribution of Mistletoes in a Patchy Habitat, Ph.D. Thesis, University of London (1999). The distinction of the genera is based nowadays principally on modifications of the flowers related to their mode of pollination. Flowers of the less specialized genera in Africa, notably Helixanthera and to some extent Vanwykia in the Flora Zambesiaca area, open spontaneously. In more advanced genera of both the Tapinanthoid and Taxilloid groups the flowers are increasingly complicated with special mechanisms that can only be manipulated by birds and various signals are developed to attract their attention. In most cases vents appear in the mature bud just below where the anthers are held in the tip of the bud, with the stamens and corolla lobes held under tension. The region is often indicated by contrasting bands of colour on the corolla and on parts visible through the vents. Probing by the beak of the bird causes the corolla to split open explosively, either radially or unilaterally with a distinct V-split, dusting the bird’s head with pollen. Further refinements occur with a more economic and precise direction of the pollen puff. These have occurred with a remarkable degree of convergent evolution in the two groups of genera, such that species of Agelanthus and Phragmanthera have been included within a broad concept of Tapinanthus until recently. The pollination strategy in Globimetula is quite different. Here the distinct head of the mature bud darkens and when pecked the petals coil outwards to reveal vents at the base of the staminal column, probing of which causes the stamens to coil inwards explosively, bending the style in the same direction. The species of Tapinanthus (in the strict sense used here) also have a bud head that darkens at maturity. Pecking causes a V-shaped rent and precise deposition of pollen and inflexion of the style. The divergence of ecogeographic races and species is often marked, among other features, by shifts in signals given to visiting birds. It is noticeable that the modifications in flowers with swollen bud heads tend to occur on that structure, with various ridges, wings and crowns, whereas those with vents show more variation related to colour-banding, shape and internal hardening of the corolla lobes. A number of the more common species have developed physiological races in different parts of their ranges, recognizable by distinct host preferences and phenology, and in some cases by distinct modifications in their habit, flower colours and gross morphology.
Distribution
77 genera and about 950 species, widely distributed from the tropics to temperate regions particularly in the south.
Leaves
Leaves opposite, alternate or whorled, simple, entire, often leathery or rather fleshy, estipulate Leaves opposite, alternate or whorled, simple, entire, often leathery or rather fleshy, estipulate
Flowers
Flowers bisexual (rarely unisexual elsewhere), variously borne singly or in racemes, umbels or heads (elsewhere often in 3-flowered dichasia) in axils, at old nodes or terminally, in Africa often large and brightly coloured; bracts usually 1 per flower, cupular or unilateral, with a small to leafy limb Flowers bisexual (rarely unisexual elsewhere), variously borne singly or in racemes, umbels or heads (elsewhere often in 3-flowered dichasia) in axils, at old nodes or terminally, in Africa often large and brightly coloured; bracts usually 1 per flower, cupular or unilateral, with a small to leafy limb
Calyx
Calyx rim-like to tubular, entire to shortly toothed Calyx rim-like to tubular, entire to shortly toothed
Corolla
Petals free or united, 4–5 in Africa, valvate, radially symmetrical or tube opening with a unilateral split Petals free or united, 4–5 in Africa, valvate, radially symmetrical or tube opening with a unilateral split
Androecium
Stamens as many as petals, epipetalous; anther basifixed in Africa, 2–4-thecous, sometimes locellate, opening lengthwise
Gynoecium
Ovary (receptacle) inferior, with 1–several obscure locules and lacking differentiated ovules; style and stigma simple
Fruits
Fruit a berry in Africa (rarely dry and winged elsewhere) Fruit a berry in Africa (rarely dry and winged elsewhere)

Images

Loranthaceae Juss. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Ann. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. 12: 292. 1808 (as "Lorantheae") (1808)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/boj.12385

Sources

Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2018. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0