Plants → Magnoliophyta → Magnoliopsida → Caryophyllales → Molluginaceae Bartl.
Common name. Carpet-weed Family.
Family Sometimes included in Aizoaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Herbs, or shrubs (or subshrubs). Plants non-succulent. Annual to perennial. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves alternate, or whorled; non-sheathing; simple; epulvinate. Leaf blades entire. Leaves with stipules, or without stipules. Stipules caducous, or persistent. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Stem anatomy. Nodes unilacunar. Secondary thickening anomalous; via concentric cambia.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite, or functionally male and functionally female (rarely). Unisexual flowers present, or absent. Plants hermaphrodite (usually), or monoecious.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; when aggregated, in cymes. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Flowers small; regular; cyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present, or absent; when present, annular. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla, or sepaline (the petals small or absent); 4–10; 1 -whorled, or 2 -whorled. Calyx 5 (usually), or 4 (Polpoda); 1 -whorled; polysepalous (usually), or gamosepalous (basally joined in Coelanthum); imbricate; regular; persistent. Corolla when present, 5 (small); 1 -whorled; polypetalous (usually), or gamopetalous (connate below into a tube in Orygia and Corbichonia); regular. Androecium present, or absent (female flowers). Androecium (2–)5–10(–25). Androecial members branched, or unbranched; free of the perianth; free of one another, or coherent (at the base of the filaments); 1 - adelphous, or 5 - adelphous; 1 -whorled, or 2 -whorled. Stamens (2–)5–10(–25); reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth, or isomerous with the perianth, or diplostemonous to polystemonous. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (in male flowers). Gynoecium (1–)2–5(–10) carpelled. The pistil 2–5 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth, or isomerous with the perianth, or increased in number relative to the perianth. Gynoecium monomerous (Adenogramma), or syncarpous; of one carpel (Adenogramma), or synovarious, or synstylovarious (Glinus); superior. Carpel in Adenogramma fully closed; apically stigmatic; 1–12 ovuled. Ovary plurilocular; 2–5 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles free; apical. Stigmas papillate. Placentation axile. Ovules 1–25 per locule; arillate, or non-arillate; campylotropous (usually), or hemianatropous (almost).
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent (usually), or indehiscent; a capsule (usually). Capsules loculicidal (or by transverse slits). Seeds non-endospermic. Perisperm present. Seeds with starch. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo achlorophyllous (1/1); curved.
Physiology, biochemistry. Aluminium accumulation not found. Photosynthetic pathway: C3, or C3-C4 intermediate.
Geography, cytology, number of species. Holarctic, Paleotropical, Neotropical, and Cape. World distribution: mainly tropical and subtropical. X = 9. About 100 species.
TD Macfarlane, L Watson & NG Marchant
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