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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 12/18/2012)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 12/18/2012)
Family RHIZOPHORACEAE
Contributor DAVID P. GREGORY
Description Trees or shrubs, often with swollen nodes. Leaves opposite, simple, entire or serrate, with lanceolate, foliose, interpetiolar, caducous stipules. Inflorescence axillary; flowers perfect and regular, sometimes solitary but usually cymose, perigy- nous to epigynous. Calyx 3- to 14-merous, the calyx tube adnate to the ovary or free, valvate, persistent. Petals equal in number to the sepals, free, often unguicu- late and sometimes elaborately fimbriate, convolute or inflexed in the bud. Stamens from twice the number of sepals to more numerous, in one whorl, inserted on a lobed disc; anthers usually 2-celled, sometimes many-celled (Rhizophora). Ovary superior, half-inferior or inferior, the locules and carpels 2-5, the septa sometimes failing to develop and resulting in a single locule; placentation axile; ovules usually 2 per locule; style single, the stigma lobes usually equal in number to the carpels. Fruit a leathery or fleshy berry crowned by the persistent calyx, usually indehiscent but sometimes septicidally dehiscent, with one locule and one seed or 2-5 locules each 1-seeded. Seeds sometimes germinating while the fruit is still on the tree (Rhizophora), with or without endosperm.
Habit Trees shrubs
Note This family has two groups of genera, one maritime and the other of upland forest genera. The representatives in Panama include one genus of each group, Rhizophora of the tidal zone and Cassipourea of inland areas. Rhizophora is the more important economically. The mangroves are a factor in land building, their prop roots forming a lattice that collects silt and organic debris. The bark of these plants contains from 20 to 45 per cent of tannins, although their tannin is appar- ently inferior to that of some other plants used in the process of tanning. Red dyes also are obtained from the young shoots. Other uses are as firewood and charcoal, for piling, for cabinet work and for manila and craft pulp. Economic uses of Cassipourea are fewer, most important being the use of its strong, flexible wood for such things as canoe paddles.
Key a. Leaves coriaceous; ultimate branchlets thick; inflorescences axillary and cymose; stamens 8, cuneate, sessile or subsessile, the anthers many- locular; ovary half-inferior, 2-locular; fruit a dry indehiscent berry, the seed germinating in attached fruits; plants of mangrove swamps with characteristic adventitious aerial and prop roots ......................................... 1. RHIZOPHORA aa. Leaves membranaceous; ultimate branchlets slim; flowers fascicled in the leaf axils or solitary; stamens 15-25 on slender filaments, the anthers 4-locular; ovary nearly superior, 3-locular; fruit a fleshy septifragal capsule; not plants of the mangrove association, roots subterranean ......... 2. CASSIPOUREA
 
 
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