1. Cornaceae Bercht. & J.Presl

    1. This family is accepted.

[FTEA]

Cornaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1958

Habit
Trees, shrubs or rarely perennial herbs
Leaves
Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, entire or serrate; stipules usually absent
Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite or dioecious, in racemes, panicles, umbels, clusters of Cymules or compact heads
Calyx
Calyx-tube adnate to the ovary; sepals 4–5 or absent
Corolla
Petals 4–5 or rarely absent, imbricate or valvate
Androecium
Stamens 4–5, alternating with the petals
Gynoecium
Ovary inferior, usually 2-celled but often 1–4 (–10)-celled; ovules pendulous, one per loculus
Fruits
Fruit a drupe or berry; embryo small in abundant endosperm
[NTK]

Every, J.L.R. (2010). Neotropical Cornaceae.

Morphology
Description

Trees or shrubs. Leaves opposite or alternate , simple , margins entire or denticulate , primary venation pinnate , arching, trichomes T-shaped, branched or simple when present; stipules very rarely present. Inflorescences terminal occasionally axillary , cymose, involucres petal -like. Flowers bisexual (rarely unisexual and dioecious ), small, actinomorphic ; sepals 4(-10), connate , adnate to ovary ; petals 4(-10), free , valvate ; stamens alternipetalous and equal in number to petals, free , anthers dorsifixed, dehiscing via full-length longitudinal slits; ovary inferior, carpels 2, syncarpous. Fruit a grooved, globose or ovoid drupe . Seeds 2, flat.

General Description
Notes on delimitation
  • Cornus L. is placed in the Cornaceae which typifies the Cornales currently placed in the Asterid clade. (APG III, 2009).
Number of genera
  • Cornus L.: Cornus disciflora DC., C. excelsa Kunth, C. florida L. and C. peruviana J. F. Macbr.  growing in the Neotropics.
  • Nyssa L.: with two species (N. sylvatica Marshall and N. talamancana Hammel & N.Zamora) in Mexico to Panama.
Status
  • Native. 
Distribution
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • Found predominately at high elevations (1,400-3,000m above sea level) below the forest canopy in mountainous regions of Central America, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.
  • Also cultivated in Brazil as an ornamental and for its wood throughout most of the Neotropical countries.
Diagnostic
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • Actinodromousvenation.
  • Involucres of petal -like bracts subtend the inflorescences.
  • Sepals adnate to ovary.
  • Petals valvate.
  • Ovary inferior.
  • Epigynous disk on top of ovary.
  • Drupaceousfruit.
Other important characters
  • A handy diagnostic trick in the field is to remove a suspected leaf, fold the leaf blade in half horizontally to form a crease, do this repeatedly until you are able to gently tear the leaf along the crease and gently pull it apart. The bottom half of the leaf will appear to hang in mid air, but on closer inspection you can see sticky threads stemming from the leaf veins.
Key differences from similar families
  • Some Viburnum species look similar to Cornaceae, but the latter often have 4-merous flowers, they lack stellateindumentum, and their lateralveins ascend towards the apex of the blade (Stevens, 2008 onwards).
Notable genera and distinguishing features
  • See distribution.
Literature
Important literature

APG III. 2009. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. Vol 161: 3. Pp. 105-121.

Kubitzki, K. 2004. Cornaceae.  In: Kubitzki, K. (ed.), The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants, vol. VI, pp. 82-90. Springer Verlag, Berlin.

Lentz, D. L. 2004. Cornaceae. In: Smith, N., Mori, S. A., Henderson, A., Stevenson, D. W. and Heald, S. V. (eds). Flowering Plants of the Neotropics. Pp. 117-8. The New York Botanical Garden, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Smith, N. 2004. Nyssaceae: In: Smith, N., Mori, S. A., Henderson, A., Stevenson, D. W. and Heald, S. V. (eds). Flowering Plants of the Neotropics. Pp. 273-274. The New York Botanical Garden, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Stevens, P. F. 2008. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 9 onwards. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/.

Watson, L. and Dallwitz, M.J. (1992 onwards). The Families of Flowering Plants: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. Version 3rd March 2009. www.delta-intkey.com.

[FZ]

Cornaceae, J. F. M. Cannon. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

Habit
Trees, shrubs, rarely perennial herbs or woody lianes
Leaves
Leaves opposite or less commonly alternate, simple, exstipulate
Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual (then the plants usually monoecious or polygamodioecious), actinomorphic in cymes or panicles, umbels or rarely in capitula and then with large petal-like bracts
Calyx
Calyx-tube adnate to the ovary, sepals 4–5
Corolla
Petals 4–5 (rarely lacking), aestivation imbricate or valvate
Androecium
Stamens the same number as the petals and alternating with them, anthers 2-celled dehiscing laterally or rarely introrsely
Gynoecium
Ovary inferior, with (1)2–4 locules Style 1 or several rising from a glandular disk Placentation usually axile, with 1 anatropous pendulous ovule in each loculus Ovules with 1 integument
Fruits
Fruit typically a drupe, sometimes a berry
Seeds
Seed with copious endosperm and a small embryo
[FZ]

Alangiaceae, J. F. M. Cannon. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

Habit
Trees or shrubs, sometimes spiny (but not in FZ area)
Leaves
Leaves alternate, entire to very slightly undulate or lobed; distinctly petiolate, often somewhat asymmetric at the base, stipules 0
Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite regular, in few-flowered (in FZ area) axillary cymes with articulated pedicels
Calyx
Calyx truncate or with 4–10 teeth
Corolla
Petals 4–10, valvate, linear, becoming strongly recurved at maturity, sometimes slightly coherent at the base
Androecium
Stamens the same number as and alternating with the petals, or up to 2–4 times as many; free or connate at the base, more or less villous adaxially; anthers 2-locular, linear
Nectaries
Disk subglobose, flattened above
Gynoecium
Ovary inferior, 1–2-locular, style simple, clavate or 1–3-lobed; ovules solitary, pendulous in the loculi, with 2 integuments
Fruits
Fruit drupaceous, crowned with the remains of the disk and sepals, l(2)-seeded
Seeds
Seeds with the embryo about equalling the endosperm
[FWTA]

Alangiaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:2. 1958

Habit
Trees or shrubs, sometimes spiny
Leaves
Leaves alternate, simple; stipules absent
Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, in axillary cymes; pedicels articulated
Calyx
Calyx truncate or with 4–10 teeth
Corolla
Petals 4–10, mostly linear, valvate, at length recurved, sometimes coherent at the base
Androecium
Stamens the same number as and alternate with the petals or 2–4 times as many, free or slightly connate at the base, more or less villous inside; anthers 2-celled, linear, opening lengthwise
Nectaries
Disk cushion-like
Gynoecium
Ovary inferior, 1–2-celled; style simple, clavate or lobed; ovule solitary, pendulous
Fruits
Fruit a drupe crowned by the sepals and disk, 1-seeded
Seeds
Seeds with the embryo about equal to the endosperm
[FTEA]

Alangiaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1958

Habit
Trees or shrubs, often spiny
Leaves
Leaves alternate, exstipulate, petiolate, entire or lobed, often asymmetric at the base
Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite, regular, in few to many-flowered axillary cymes
Calyx
Calyx truncate or divided into 4–10 lobes, or denticulate
Corolla
Petals 4–10, linear, valvate, often joined at the extreme base
Androecium
Stamens equal in number to the petals and alternating with them or up to four times as many, free or slightly joined at the base
Gynoecium
Style simple, clavate or 2–3-lobed Ovary inferior, 1–2-celled, ovules solitary and pendulous in the cells
Fruits
Fruit a drupe crowned with sepals and disc, 1–2-seeded; seeds albuminous

Images

Cornaceae Bercht. & J.Presl appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Prir. Rostlin 2(23*): 91, 92. 1825 (1825)

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 Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
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 2019. 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

Neotropikey
Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0