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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 11/13/2012)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 11/13/2012)
Family SAXIFRAGACEAE
Contributor ELIZABETH McCLINTOCK
Description Deciduous or evergreen shrubs or small trees, or perennial, rarely annual, herbs. Leaves alternate or opposite, mostly simple but variable in form, usually without stipules. Inflorescence various; flowers mostly perfect and actinomorphic, medium- sized or small, rarely large and showy; receptacle various, flat or often concave and forming a hypanthium more or less adnate to the ovary; sepals 4 or 5, rarely more; petals as many as the sepals, imbricate or valvate, free; stamens as many as petals and alternate with them, or twice as many as petals, rarely more numerous; fila- ments subulate or filiform; anthers rotund or oblong, 2-celled, opening lengthwise; carpels usually united and fewer than petals, seldom partially free and equal in number to the petals; ovary superior or partly or wholly inferior, placentae parietal or axillary, rarely otherwise, ovules usually numerous, styles the same number as carpels, free or partially united. Fruit a dehiscent capsule or a berry; seeds usually numerous, small and occasionally winged.
Distribution About 70 genera, widely distributed in both hemispheres, mostly in temperate to subarctic regions, rare in the tropics where only certain woody genera are found. Four genera in Panama.
Note The Central and South American species of Hydrangea belong to the Section CORNIDIA Engler (Nat. Pflanzenfam. 32a:76. 1890), characterized by being ever- green climbers or shrubs with coriaceous leaves. CORNIDIA does not occur ex- clusively in the New World, several species having been described from the Philippine Islands and Formosa. In addition to CORNIDIA there are two other sections in the genus which occur in the eastern United States and in China and Japan where the genus is concentrated. There are two types of inflorescence in CORNIDIA. The most common consists of a single cyme, with or without sterile flowers. The second type consists of several cymes one above the other, and does not have sterile flowers. The Central American species have only the first type, but both types are found in the South American species. The characters distinguishing the species within each group are usually found in the flowers: in the presence or absence of sterile flowers, in the size, shape and number of styles, and in the length of the stamens. Because of the small size of the flowers these differences are not readily seen. Sterile, juvenile plants, quite different from the adult flowering plants, have been collected in Central and South America in areas where the genus occurs. Juvenile plants have small, membranous, serrate or entire leaves borne on slender climbing stems. There are no distinctive generic or specific characters associated with these plants, and they passed unrecognized until they were finally associated with Hydrangea.
Key a. Flowers epiphyllous, borne in few-flowered cymes along the midvein on the upper leaf surface, inconspicuous, greenish; petals less than 1 mm. long; fruit a few-seeded berry ................................. 4. PHYLLONOMA aa. Flowers not epiphyllous, conspicuous, white or colored; petals 2 mm. or more long; fruit a many-seeded capsule. b. Inflorescence a many-flowered cyme, often bearing a few large sterile flowers in addition to the smaller, fertile ones; fertile flowers with petals about 2 mm. long, deciduous during anthesis; stamens twice as many as petals; capsule opening at apex between the styles; styles developing during maturity of fruit to about double their size in anthesis................................................................... I HYDRANGEA bb. Inflorescence a few-flowered cyme, or flowers borne singly, flowers alike; petals 10 mm. or more long, persistent during anthesis; stamens same number as petals or numerous; capsule opening from base be- tween the valves or from the apex loculicidally; styles not developing further during maturity of fruit. c. Sepals and petals 4, stamens numerous; petals 15-20 mm. long, obovate, spreading; capsule dehiscent loculicidally from apex; leaves deciduous; leaves and branchlets hirsute-strigose ........... 3. PHILADELPHUS cc. Sepals, petals and stamens 5; petals 10 mm. long, linear-spathulate, erect, appearing to cohere and to form a tubular corolla; capsule dehiscing from base between the valves; leaves evergreen; leaves and branchlets resinous and glandular ............................ 2. ESCALLONIA
 
 
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