According to Flora of West Tropical Africa[FWTA]
Caricaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:1. 1954
- Small trees or shrubs with a terminal cluster of leaves and milky juice; leaves alternate, often variously digitately lobed or foliolate; stipules absent; flowers hermaphrodite and unisexual, racemose; male flower: calyx 5-lobed, small; petals united into a slender tube; lobes contorted or valvate; stamens 10, inserted on the corolla; filaments free or connate at the base; anthers 2-celled, opening lengthwise; rudimentary ovary present or absent; female flower: calyx of the male; petals at first connivent, at length free; no staminodes; ovary superior, sessile, 1-celled or spuriously 5-celled, with parietal placentas; ovules numerous; style short or absent; fruit a pulpy berry; seeds with fleshy endosperm and straight embryo
According to Neotropikey[NTK]
Zappi, D. (2009). Neotropical Caricaceae.
Trees or shrubs, often poorly branched and pachycaul, rarely herbs or climbers , trunk occasionally covered in spines, often laticiferous , latex transparent or whitish. Stipules normally present, sometimes transformed in spines. Leaves generally petiolate , glabrous , generally with foetid or rank smell, venation generally palmate , entire to deeply dissected , sometimes digitate to trifoliolate , sometimes peltate (in Jarrilla Rusbydeltoid in outline), margin lobed , crenate or dentate , sometimes entire , base often cordate . Inflorescences axillary , cymose, racemose or paniculate, pedunculate or not, flowers sometimes solitary. Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual in dioecious or polygamo- dioecious plants, hypogynous; calyx 5- merous , lobes free ; corolla 5- merous , lobes fused or free , white, cream or greenish; stamens 5-10, free or fused to the corolla and/or adnate, anthers dehiscing longitudinally; ovary superior , unilocular and with parietal placentation or 5-locular and then axile placentation, many-ovuled, style present, generally stout. Fruita large, green to orange, fleshy berry , indehiscent , many-seeded; seeds enveloped in mucilaginous pulp, testa verrucose , black, embryo straight, endosperm oily.
Distribution in the Neotropics
- Represented by three genera and over 30 species widely distributed in the Neotropics.
- General Description
Number of genera
- Carica L., 22 species throughout the Neotropics, poorly branched trees to shrubs (Carica papaya L. widely cultivated for its edible fruit).
- Jacaratia A.DC., 6 species in arid regions of the Neotropics, pachycaul trees sometimes with spiny branches, leaves digitate.
- Jarrilla heterophylla I.M.Johnst., 1 species only found in Mexico, herbaceous, decumbent.
- Carica papaya is an important food crop, especially in Northeastern Brazil. This species has two types of plants: one with many-flowered inflorecences comprising staminate and pistillate flowers, that sometimes produce an elongated fruit, and the other with pistillate, sessile flowers, producing abundant rounded fruits, known as Papaya, Mamão (Braz.) and Fruta-Bomba (Caribbean).
- Together with the Brassicaceae, the Caricaceae is currently placed within order Brassicales alongside Tropaeolaceae (APGII, 2003, Souza & Lorenzi 2005).
Useful tips for generic identification
Key to genera of Neotropical Caricaceae
1. Herbaceous, decumbent plants, with deltoid leaves .... Jarrilla
1. Shrubs or trees, self-supported, leaves never deltoid ... 2
2. Leaves entire to deeply lobed, branches smooth .... CaricaDistinguishing characters (always present)
2. Leaves digitate to trifoliolate, branches often spiny.... Jacaratia
- Rank or foetid smell.
- Mostly shrubby or tree -like.
- Stamens didynamous.
- Superiorovary with parietal placentation, stout style.
- Large fruits with soft epicarp and succulentpericarp.
- Differs from Brassicaceae and Tropaeolaceae in woody, shrubby to tree-like habit.
- From Araliaceae (similar due to its palmately compound leaves) in superiorovary and pentamerous flowers (vs. Araliaceae inferior ovary, tetramerous flowers).
- From Bombacaceae (similar leaf shape and sometimes spinytrunk) in succulentindehiscentfruit (vs. Bombacaceae fruits which are dehiscent capsules with woolly seeds).
- Spiny stems (sometimes).
- Palmate leaves.
- Latex present.
APG II, 2003. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141(4): 399-436.
Gentry, A.H. 1996. A field guide to the families and genera of Woody Plants of Northwest South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
Souza, V.C. & Lorenzi, H. 2005. Botânica Sistemática: guia ilustrativo para identificação das famílias de Angiospermas da flora brasileira, baseado em APG II. Nova Odessa, Brazil: Instituto Plantarum.
Badillo, V.M. 1971. Monografia de la Familia Caricaceae. Universidad Central de Venezuela, Maracay.
According to Flora Zambesiaca[FZ]
Caricaceae, F. K. Kupicha. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978
- Trees or shrubs with simple or sparingly branched stems, rarely herbs; milky latex present in all parts
- Leaves alternate, exstipulate, petiolate, simple and entire or variously lobed or divided
- Flowers dioecious, monoecious or hermaphrodite, pentamerous, actinomorphic, in axillary inflorescences or, rarely plants cauliflorous Female flower: petals ± free; ovary superior, sessile, 5-carpellary, 1-locular or 5-locular, with parietal placentation; style short or absent; stigmas 5, connate at the base, entire or lobed Male flower: corolla gamopetalous, with valvate or contorted lobes; stamens 10, biseriate, inserted on the corolla; filaments free or connate into a short staminal ring
- Calyx small, gamosepalous, subentire or 3–5-lobed, the lobes opposing or alternating with petals
- Male flower: corolla gamopetalous, with valvate or contorted lobes; stamens 10, biseriate, inserted on the corolla; filaments free or connate into a short staminal ring
- Female flower: petals ± free; ovary superior, sessile, 5-carpellary, 1-locular or 5-locular, with parietal placentation; style short or absent; stigmas 5, connate at the base, entire or lobed
- Ovules ?, anatropous
- Fruit a fleshy many-seeded berry
- Seeds with succulent outer sarcotesta and hard endotesta; endosperm present
According to Flora of Tropical East Africa[FTEA]
Caricaceae, J. H. Hemsley. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1958
- Trees or shrubs, usually with simple trunks or stems, rarely herbs; milky latex present in all parts
- Leaves large, usually clustered at branch tips, long-petioled and exstipulate, variously lobed and divided, glabrous or rarely hairy
- Inflorescences axillary or rarely cauliflorous
- Flowers dioecious, monoecious or hermaphrodite, pentamerous and regular Male flowers gamopetalous; corolla-tube long and narrow; lobes ± valvate or contorted; stamens 10, biseriate, inserted on the corolla; filaments free or connate Female flowers with petals ± free; ovary superior, sessile, 1- or 5-locular with parietal placentation; style short or absent; stigmas 5, sessile, simple or fimbriate; ovules numerous, anatropous
- Calyx small, gamosepalous, 5-lobed
- Male flowers gamopetalous; corolla-tube long and narrow; lobes ± valvate or contorted; stamens 10, biseriate, inserted on the corolla; filaments free or connate
- Female flowers with petals ± free; ovary superior, sessile, 1- or 5-locular with parietal placentation; style short or absent; stigmas 5, sessile, simple or fimbriate; ovules numerous, anatropous
- Fruit a fleshy berry with numerous seeds; seed with soft succulent outer testa and hard inner testa; endosperm present; embryo straight
First published in Anal. Fam. Pl. 37, 42. 1829 (1829)
- 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 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
Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.