1. Myricaceae Rich. ex Kunth

    1. This family is accepted.

[FTEA]

Myricaceae, R.M. Polhill, B.A., Ph.d., F.L.S. and B. Verdcourt, B.Sc., Ph.D.. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2000

Habit
Monoecious or dioecious trees, shrubs or subshrubs; nitrogen-fixing root-nodules present
Leaves
Leaves alternate, entire to irregularly dentate or lobed, occasionally pinnatifid, usually with aromatic resinous gland-dots
Stipules
Stipules usually absent
Flowers
Flowers in dense elongate or globose axillary spikes (catkins), unisexual (or some morphologically bisexual in Canacomyrica); bracts present and sometimes a pair of smaller bracteoles; perianth absent save in Canacomyrica Male flowers: stamens 2–10(–22); filaments short, free or partially united into a column; anthers erect, 2-thecous, opening lengthwise Female flowers: ovary sessile, 1-locular; style short with 2 slender branches; ovule 1, erect from the base, orthotropous
Male
Male flowers: stamens 2–10(–22); filaments short, free or partially united into a column; anthers erect, 2-thecous, opening lengthwise
Female
Female flowers: ovary sessile, 1-locular; style short with 2 slender branches; ovule 1, erect from the base, orthotropous
Fruits
Fruit either dry and with attached wing-like accrescent bracteoles or a small globose or ovoid drupe densely covered with bead-like often wax-covered papillae; endocarp hard
Seeds
Seed with membranous testa and little or no endosperm
[FZ]

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

Note
The family was monographed by A. Chevalier (Mém. Soc. Sci. Nat. Cherbourg 32: 85–341 (1901); also as a separate repaged reprint), who maintained 3 genera. The monograph was reviewed by Rendle in J. Bot. 41: 82–87 (1903), with other pertinent remarks on the African species. MacDonald discusses the family in Crane & Blackmore, Evolution, Systematics and Fossil History of the Hamamelidae 2: 147–165 (1989) and supports the recognition of several genera. Verdcourt & Polhill (Taxon 46: 347–348 (1997)) dealt with the nomenclatural problems resulting from this and proposed that Myrica L. should be typified in such a way that the name is attached to the tropical species, as recommended by Chevalier and Rendle. The palaearctic species long called Myrica gale L. would then have to be called Gale belgica Dumort. * We missed, however, the publication of a paper by Wilbur on the North American members of the family in Sida 16: 93–107 (1994), in which he agrees on the need to recognise separate genera but accepts the usual typification of Myrica and uses the genus Morella for the bulk of the species in the family (all but four species in actual fact). There seems no choice but to follow him and our proposal was rejected. Others have argued for a wide interpretation of Myrica. Hutchinson, in F.T.A. 6, 2: 307–314 (1917), while recognising the strong distinctions, considered it best to maintain one genus and still followed this course 50 years later in his Gen. Fl. Pl. 2: 122 (1967). Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 2: 453–457 (1993), recognises only one of the segregates from Myrica. F. White in his idiosyncratic account of African Myricaceae in Opera Bot. 121: 173–188 (1993), thought the differences relatively slight and considered Myrica should not be split.
Distribution
Four genera with c. 50 species, widely distributed but mostly in temperate regions and tropical highlands. Over 300 fossil species have also been described. Numerous species are recorded from the Tertiary of North America and Europe. Canacomyrica Guill. i
Habit
Monoecious or dioecious trees, shrubs or subshrubs; nitrogen-fixing root-nodules present Monoecious or dioecious trees, shrubs or subshrubs; nitrogen-fixing root-nodules present
Leaves
Leaves alternate, entire to irregularly dentate or lobed, occasionally pinnatifid, usually with aromatic resinous gland-dots; stipules usually absent Leaves alternate, entire to irregularly dentate or lobed, occasionally pinnatifid, usually with aromatic resinous gland-dots; stipules usually absent
Flowers
Flowers in dense elongate or globose axillary spikes (catkins), unisexual (male sometimes with vestigial female parts or some morphologically bisexual in Canacomyrica); bracts present and sometimes also smaller bracteoles Female flowers: ovary sessile, 1-locular; style short with 2 slender branches; ovule 1, erect from the base, orthotropous Male flowers: stamens 2–10(22); filaments short, free or partially united into a column; anthers erect, 2-thecous, opening lengthwise Flowers in dense elongate or globose axillary spikes (catkins), unisexual (male sometimes with vestigial female parts or some morphologically bisexual in Canacomyrica); bracts present and sometimes also smaller bracteoles Female flowers: ovary sessile, 1-locular; style short with 2 slender branches; ovule 1, erect from the base, orthotropous Male flowers: stamens 2–10(22); filaments short, free or partially united into a column; anthers erect, 2-thecous, opening lengthwise
Perianth
Perianth absent except in >i>Canacomyrica Perianth absent except in Canacomyrica
Male
Male flowers: stamens 2–10(22); filaments short, free or partially united into a column; anthers erect, 2-thecous, opening lengthwise
Female
Female flowers: ovary sessile, 1-locular; style short with 2 slender branches; ovule 1, erect from the base, orthotropous
Fruits
Fruit either dry and with attached wing-like accrescent bracteoles or a small globose or ovoid drupe densely covered with bead-like often wax-covered papillae; endocarp hard Fruit either dry and with attached wing-like accrescent bracteoles or a small globose or ovoid drupe densely covered with bead-like often wax-covered papillae; endocarp hard
Seeds
Seed with membranous testa and little or no endosperm Seed with membranous testa and little or no endosperm.
[NTK]

Milliken, W. (2009). Neotropical Myricaceae.

Morphology
Description

Small trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate , simple , with entire or serrate / dentate margins, usually aromatic, containing pellucid punctuations and commonly with an indumentum of simple hairs and peltate , glandular scales; stipules absent.  Inflorescences borne in the leaf axils in catkins.  Flowers unisexual, perianth absent, subtended by bracts. Male flowers with 2-8 (-20) stamens (most commonly 4), anthers basifixed and dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Female flowers with syncarpous gynoecium (2 carpels), 2 (occasionally 3) stigmas, superior 1-locular ovary Fruit a one-seeded drupe or nutlet, sometimes enclosed in bracteoles and sometimes covered in a whitish waxy layer.

Distribution
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • Distributed throughout the Neotropics.
  • Mainly in montane and submontane forests and páramo grasslands.
  • Commonly on boggy ground.
  • Sometimes in disturbed habitats.
General Description
Number of genera
  • Traditionally only one genus in the Neotropics (Myrica L.), but taxonomists have recently reassigned the American species to the genus Morella Lour. (Parra-O, 2002)
Status
  • Native.
General notes
  • As in other parts of the world, the wax that coats the fruits of these plants has been exploited in the past for candle manufacture (removed by boiling).
  • Nitrogen-fixing nodules are usually present in the roots, apparently helping to provide a competitive advantage in boggy areas.
Notes on delimitation
  • According to morphological and molecular analyses, the Myricaceae are closely affiliated to the Juglandaceae and fall within the Fagales (though sometimes considered in an order of their own - Myricales).
Diagnostic
Useful tips for generic identification
  • A key to the South American species of Morella (including all previously assigned to Myrica ) is given by Parra-O (2002).
Other important characters
  • Fruit surface often tuberculate and sometimes coated with a waxy substance.
  • Leaves often aromatic.
  • Twigs usually strongly ridged.
Key differences from similar families

The Myricaceae could potentially be confused with other members of the Fagales, but differ from them in the following characters:

  • From Fagaceae - drupaceous fruits; superiorovary; absence of perianth; glands and punctuations in leaves.
  • From Betulaceae - drupaceous fruits; absence of stipules; superiorovary.
  • From Juglandaceae - simple leaves; superiorovary.
  • From Ticodendraceae - lack of stipules; pellucid punctuations in leaves; superiorovary.
  • It is conceivable that in a vegetative state this family could be confused with Theaceae (which may also have serrate, punctuate leaves), but Theaceae punctuations are dark, even in bud, rather than pellucid.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • Alternate, variably serrate leaves with pellucid punctuations and peltate scales (giving characteristic yellow gland -dotted appearance). No stipules.
  • Inferior ovary; male and female flowers borne on catkins with no perianth.
Literature
Important literature

Manos, P. S. & Steele, K. P. 1997. Phylogenetic analyses of 'higher' Hamamelididae based on plastid sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 84:1407-1419.

Parra-O, C. 2002. New combinations in South American Myrica. Brittonia 54(4): 322-326.

Roberts, A.S. 2004. Myricaceae, pp. 259-261. In: Smith, N., Mori, S.A., Henderson, A., Stevenson, D.W. and Heald, S.V. (eds.). Flowering Plants of the Neotropics, p. 316. The New York Botanical Garden, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

[FWTA]

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

Habit
Trees or shrubs, often aromatic
Leaves
Leaves alternate, simple, sometimes pinnately lobed, scaly-glandular beneath, exstipulate
Flowers
Flowers unisexual, monoecious or dioecious, in axillary spikes Male flower subtended by a solitary bract: stamens 2 or more; anthers 2-celled Female flower: ovary sessile, 1-celled; style short, 2-branched
Calyx
Sepals and petals absent, or the female with a few sepal-like whorled bracteoles
Male
Male flower subtended by a solitary bract: stamens 2 or more; anthers 2-celled
Female
Female flower: ovary sessile, 1-celled; style short, 2-branched
Gynoecium
Ovule 1, erect, basal
Fruits
Fruit a drupe, often warted, the warts waxy
Seeds
Seed erect, without endosperm; embryo straight

Images

Myricaceae Rich. ex Kunth appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Nov. Gen. Sp. [H.B.K.] 2: ed. qu.: 16. 1817 [28 Apr 1817] (1817)

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