According to Flora of Tropical East Africa[FTEA]
Aïzoaceae, C. Jeffrey. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1961
- Succulent or subsucculent annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs, less often shrubs
- Leaves simple, alternate, opposite or verticillate, sometimes crowded, often with an expanded membranous base, exstipulate or with membranous stipules
- Inflorescences cymose, loosely dichasial to umbelliform or glomerulate (flowers sometimes solitary), axillary or terminal
- Flowers regular, hermaphrodite, rarely unisexual
- Calyx of 5, less often 4 or 3, members, polysepalous or gamosepalous, usually herbaceous and persistent
- Petals absent
- Sterile Parts
- Staminodes sometimes present, then often petaloid
- Stamens 5-many, hypogynous or episepalous, sometimes fascicled, when definite alternate with the calyx-lobes
- Ovary superior or inferior, of 2–5-many united (rarely free) carpels, or of 1 carpel; loculi as many as carpels; ovules one, few, or many per loculus; placentation basal, axile, apical or parietal but not free-central
- Fruits usually capsular, loculicidal or circumscissile, sometimes indehiscent, rarely mericarpic
- Seeds usually subreniform, rarely strophiolate; embryo usually curved
According to Flora Zambesiaca[FZ]
Aizoaceae, M. L. Gonçalves. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978
- Annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs, mostly succulent or subsucculent, glabrous or pubescent
- Leaves simple, opposite, alternate or sometimes crowded, exstipulate, sometimes with small stipuliform lobes at base
- Inflorescences solitary or in groups, axillary
- Flower hermaphrodite, regular
- Perianth segments 5, united below into a tube or almost free, ± herbaceous, imbricate or valvate, persistent
- Stamens 5–?, hypogynous, sometimes in pairs or in fascicles, when definite alternate with the perianth segments
- Ovary superior, of 1–5 united carpels; loculi as many as carpels; ovules 1–? per loculus; placentation parietal, axile or apical
- Fruit capsular, loculicidal or circumscissile
- Seeds usually subreniform, not strophiolate; embryo usually curved
According to Neotropikey[NTK]
Taylor, N. & Zappi, D. (2009). Neotropical Aizoaceae.
Erect or decumbent annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs, very rarely woody , sometimes reduced to a single pair of leaves. Epidermis smooth or covered in papillae with the appearance of crystals (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L. - ice-plant). Leaves almost always opposite, succulent , often cylindric and sometimes truncate (Lithops N.E.Br., Conophytum N.E.Br.), rarely with a spiny appendix at the apex (Trichodiadema Schwantes), margins entire or sometimes toothed. Flowers hermaphrodite , mostly solitary or in small cymes, pedicellate to sessile ; calyx 3-5(-8) parted , cup-shaped, green; corolla absent and replaced by (4-)5-many staminodes, sometimes very colourful and showy, often resembling Compositae; stamens 5-numerous; stigmas free , sometimes united at base, ovary superior , semi-inferior or inferior, (2-)5-many locular, locules 1-many-seeded. Fruita indehiscent berry or more often a loculicidal capsule ; seeds small to medium, cochleariform, testa cells smooth, often brown or black.
Distribution in the Neotropics
- An important family in South Africa (over 2,000 species), it is represented only by a few species that occur in disturbed environments, especially in the arid regions and by the seaside.
Key differences from similar families
- Unlike Cactaceae, where succulence is found on stems and leaves (which are alternate if present) in the Aizoaceae the succulence is confined to their (generally opposite) leaves.
- Aizoaceae differs from Portulacaceae in opposite leaves and many strap-like perianth segments of staminodial origin.
- It can be separated from the Molluginaceae because of its succulence and generally colourful and showy flowers, while Molluginaceae are not succulent and have white, small flowers.
- Leaves opposite (often).
- Flowers open at noon.
- Capsular fruits that open when wetted.
- Succulence of leaves.
- 'Corolla' of staminodial origin.
See aboveUseful tips for generic identification
- Ovary placentation.
- Fruit structure and dehiscence.
- Number of staminodes.
- Number of calyx -lobes.
- Leaf-shape and size.
- General Description
Number of genera
- Aptenia cordifolia (L.f.) Schwantes - originally from South Africa, widely cultivated as an ornamental and escaped in arid regions; creeping plants with relatively small (c. 1.5 cm long) pink flowers.
- Lampranthus N.E.Br. - genus with over 180 South African species, a few cultivated as ornamental in the Neotropics; perennial subshrub with showy, daisy-like flowers.
- Mesembryanthemum crystallinum - originated in Africa and widely cultivated throughout the world; annual herbs sometimes covered with epidermic papillae resembling crystals.
- Sesuvium portulacastrum L. - pantropical weed from coast and salt-lakes; halophytic herb with reddish stems; erectsucculentherb with small, white flowers and drupaceous, spiny fruits, leaves deltoid.
- Tetragonia tetragonioides (Pall.) Kuntze - grown as spinach throughout the Neotropics, sometimes naturalized.
- The Aizoaceae is one of the succulent families placed within the Caryophyllideae, order Caryophyllales (Behnke & Mabry, 1994), presenting betalain as the main pigment of flowers and stems and specialized photosynthesis often found in xerophytes, such as CAM and C3.
- This family has been previously subdivided into Aizoaceae, Mesembryanthemaceae and Molluginaceae (Jacobsen, 1970).
- The present circumscription follows Bittrich & Hartmann (1988), Hartmann (1990), Behnke & Mabry (1994) and Eggli (1994) and excludes the Molluginaceae.
- Of the several ornamental genera grown, the most notable are the succulents Lithops and Conophytum, the stone plants, which consist of a pair of truncate leaves, often with translucent 'windows' to allow sunlight in.
- Amongst the members of Aizoaceae with showy flowers, the anthesis is determined by the presence of sunlight, with flowers opening at noon and closing after a few hours to re-open the next day, lasting a few days.
- The staminode-formed 'corolla' has a unique anthesis method as it grows while the flower opens, with the inside of the staminodes expanding to cause the flower to open and the outside of the staminodes growing as the flower closes at the end of the period.
- The capsular fruits of some genera open by means of special structures when wetted and close when dry, releasing the seeds gradually.
- The Aizoaceae are extremely rich in Africa, especially in South Africa. Mostly widespread genera that are introduced and naturalized in the Neotropics.
Behnke, H.D. & Mabry, T.J. 1994 (eds.) Caryophyllales Evolution and Systematics. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 334 p.
Bittrich, V. & Hartmann, H.E.K. 1988. The Aizoaceae - a new approach. Bot. Journ. Linn. Soc. 97: 239-254.
Eggli, U. 1994. Sukkulenten. Ulmer, Stuttgart, 336 p.
Hartmann, H.E.K. 1990. Aizoaceae in Kubitzki, K. (ed.) The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants II. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 37-69.
Jacobsen, H. 1970. Lexicon of Succulent Plants, 2nd ed. Blandford Press, Poole, Dorset, 682 p.
According to Flora of West Tropical Africa under the synonym Ficoidaceae[FWTA]
Ficoidaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:1. 1954
- Herbs or low shrubs, often fleshy
- Leaves alternate or opposite, sometimes very small, stipulate or not
- Flowers actinomorphic, usually hermaphrodite
- Calyx-tube free or adnate to the ovary; lobes 5–8, imbricate or rarely valvate, herbaceous
- Petals numerous or absent, 1— or more-seriate, inserted in the calyx-tube
- Stamens perigynous, many or few, rarely 1, free or united at the base into bundles; anthers 2-celled, small, opening lengthwise
- Ovary superior or inferior, 1-several-celled; ovules solitary to many, basal, apical or axile
- Fruit a capsule or nut-like and drupaceous, often clasped by the persistent calyx
According to Flora Zambesiaca under the synonym Mesembryanthemaceae[FZ]
Mesembryanthemaceae, M. L. Gonçalves. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978
- Decumbent or prostrate creeping shrubs or herbs
- Leaves opposite, sessile or shortly petiolate, more or less connate below, entire, fleshy, exstipulate
- Flowers terminal or axillary, solitary or in few-flowered cymes, bisexual, actinomorphic, haplochlamydeous
- Perianth-segments 4 or 5, 2–3 often leafy and larger than others
- Sterile Parts
- Staminodes petaloid, ?, white or pink to purple, persistent
- Stamens ?, in several whorls, with oblong anthers
- Ovary inferior, 4- or 5-locular, glandular or eglandular; stigmas as many as loculi; placentation axile or parietal
- Fruit a loculicidal capsule with subwoody walls, dehiscing stellately at the apex as valves imbibe moisture
- Seeds ?
According to Flora Zambesiaca under the synonym Tetragoniaceae[FZ]
Tetragoniaceae, M. L. Gonçalves. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978
- Annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs
- Leaves alternate, entire, without stipules
- Flowers solitary or fasciculate, axillary, bisexual, actinomorphic
- Perianth-segments 3–5, with the tube adnate to the ovary
- Stamens 3–?, sometimes fasciculate
- Ovary inferior or semi-inferior, 2–8(9)-locular with loculus 1-ovulate
- Fruit simple, dry, indehiscent, 2–8(9)-locular, pericarp winged or horned
- Acrodon N.E.Br.
- Acrosanthes Eckl. & Zeyh.
- Aizoanthemopsis Klak
- Aizoanthemum Dinter ex Friedrich
- Aizoon L.
- Aloinopsis Schwantes
- Amphibolia L.Bolus ex Herre
- Antegibbaeum Schwantes ex C.Weber
- Antimima N.E.Br.
- Apatesia N.E.Br.
- Argyroderma N.E.Br.
- Astridia Dinter
- Bergeranthus Schwantes
- Braunsia Schwantes
- Brianhuntleya Chess., S.A.Hammer & I.Oliv.
- Calamophyllum Schwantes
- Carpanthea N.E.Br.
- Carpobrotus N.E.Br.
- × Carruanthophyllum G.D.Rowley
- Carruanthus (Schwantes) Schwantes
- Cephalophyllum (Haw.) N.E.Br.
- Cerochlamys N.E.Br.
- Chasmatophyllum (Schwantes) Dinter & Schwantes
- Cheiridopsis N.E.Br.
- Circandra N.E.Br.
- Cleretum N.E.Br.
- Conicosia N.E.Br.
- Conophytum N.E.Br.
- Cylindrophyllum Schwantes
- Deilanthe N.E.Br.
- Delosperma N.E.Br.
- Dicrocaulon N.E.Br.
- Didymaotus N.E.Br.
- Dinteranthus Schwantes
- Diplosoma Schwantes
- Disphyma N.E.Br.
- Dracophilus (Schwantes) Dinter & Schwantes
- Drosanthemopsis Rauschert
- Drosanthemum Schwantes
- Eberlanzia Schwantes
- Ebracteola Dinter & Schwantes
- Enarganthe N.E.Br.
- Erepsia N.E.Br.
- Esterhuysenia L.Bolus
- Faucaria Schwantes
- Fenestraria N.E.Br.
- Frithia N.E.Br.
- Gibbaeum Haw. ex N.E.Br.
- Glottiphyllum Haw.
- Gunniopsis Pax
- Hallianthus H.E.K.Hartmann
- Hammeria Burgoyne
- Hartmanthus S.A.Hammer
- Hereroa (Schwantes) Dinter & Schwantes
- Hymenogyne Haw.
- Jacobsenia L.Bolus & Schwantes
- Jensenobotrya A.G.J.Herre
- Jordaaniella H.E.K.Hartmann
- Juttadinteria Schwantes
- Khadia N.E.Br.
- Lampranthus N.E.Br.
- Lapidaria Dinter & Schwantes
- Leipoldtia L.Bolus
- Lithops N.E.Br.
- Machairophyllum Schwantes
- Malephora N.E.Br.
- Malotigena Niederle
- Marlothistella Schwantes
- Mesembryanthemum L.
- Mestoklema N.E.Br. ex Glen
- Meyerophytum Schwantes
- Mitrophyllum Schwantes
- Monilaria Schwantes
- Mossia N.E.Br.
- Muiria N.E.Br.
- Namaquanthus L.Bolus
- Namibia (Schwantes) Dinter & Schwantes
- Nananthus N.E.Br.
- Nelia Schwantes
- Neohenricia L.Bolus
- Octopoma N.E.Br.
- Oophytum N.E.Br.
- Orthopterum L.Bolus
- Oscularia Schwantes
- Ottosonderia L.Bolus
- Peersia L.Bolus
- Phiambolia Klak
- Pleiospilos N.E.Br.
- Prepodesma N.E.Br.
- Psammophora Dinter & Schwantes
- Rabiea N.E.Br.
- Rhinephyllum N.E.Br.
- Rhombophyllum (Schwantes) Schwantes
- Roosia van Jaarsv.
- Ruschia Schwantes
- Ruschianthus L.Bolus
- Ruschiella Klak
- Saphesia N.E.Br.
- Sarcozona J.M.Black
- Schlechteranthus Schwantes
- Schwantesia Dinter
- Scopelogena L.Bolus ex A.G.J.Herre
- Sesuvium L.
- Skiatophytum L.Bolus
- Smicrostigma N.E.Br.
- Stayneria L.Bolus
- Stoeberia Dinter & Schwantes
- Stomatium Schwantes
- Tanquana H.Hartmann & Liede
- Tetragonia L.
- Titanopsis Schwantes
- Trianthema L.
- Tribulocarpus S.Moore
- Trichodiadema Schwantes
- Vanheerdea L.Bolus ex H.E.K.Hartmann
- Vanzijlia L.Bolus
- Vlokia S.A.Hammer
- Wooleya L.Bolus
- Zaleya Burm.f.
- Zeuktophyllum N.E.Br.
First published in Tekhno-Bot. Slovar 15. 1820 [3 Aug 1820] (as "Aizoonides") (1820)
- APG IV (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/boj.12385
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa
Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. 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
Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.