May 7, 2007 8:36 AM

Families that just confuse me

Thank you to Bianca Knoll and Bruce Baldwin for these wonderful descriptions.

Myricaceae - Bayberry Family. Trees or shrubs, aromatic, commonly with peltate yellow glands; leaves alternate and simple, oblanceolate; stipules present or absent; flowers unisexual, generally monoecious, flowers generally aggregated into spikes, axillary; perianth extremely reduced to subtending bractlets; stamens typically 4; superior ovary composed of two fused carpels, style present with two branches; fruit a drupe.

Moraceae- Fig or Mulberry family. Mostly tropical, but found worldwide. Trees and shrubs, milky sap or latex present in all tissue; leaves simple, may be alternate or opposite; stipules present, leaving a circular scar on twig, many with conical stipules covering apical bud; inflorescence axillary, flowers densely packed on thickened axis; flowers tiny, unisexual, monoecious, radial; perianth composed of 4-5 tepals; stamens 1-5, opposite tepals, with explosive pollen release; overay superior or inferior; 2 carpels, one ovule, 2 styles; fruit usually fleshy, drupelike achenes (often aggregated into multiple fruits).

Polygalaceae- termperate and tropical. Herbs, shrubs, trees or vines, leaves alternate, simple, entire. Venation pinnate; stipules lacking or spines present; inflorescence a panicle or raceme; flowers bisexual and bilateral; sepals 5, often with 2 fused, and two larger and petal-like, petals usually 3 (5), adnate to staminal tube; stamens typically 8, anthers usually opening by apical pores; style often with one fertile and one sterile branch, the sterile one ending in a tuft of hairs; fruit various.

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