Pedaliaceae R.Br.

Prodr.Fl.Nov.Holland. 519 (1810)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Common name. Sesame Family.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs (mostly), or shrubs (rarely). Mesophytic to xerophytic (mostly inhabiting shores and deserts). Leaves opposite (at least below); simple. Leaf blades dissected, or entire; when dissected, pinnatifid, or runcinate; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves without stipules. Leaf anatomy. Hydathodes present (sometimes), or absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Entomophilous.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences axillary; dichasia or cymes. Flowers bracteate (the bracts with axillary abortive flowers functioning as nectaries); very irregular. The floral asymmetry involving the perianth and involving the androecium. Flowers 5 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous (forming a lobed tube); blunt-lobed. Corolla 5; 1 -whorled; gamopetalous; imbricate; unequal but not bilabiate, or bilabiate; spurred (sometimes), or not spurred. Androecium 5. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla tube); markedly unequal; free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium including staminodes. Staminodes 1 (the posterior member); non-petaloid. Stamens 4; didynamous; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth; oppositisepalous; all alternating with the corolla members. Anthers connivent (in pairs), or separate from one another; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; tetrasporangiate. Pollen shed in aggregates (Sesamothamnus), or shed as single grains; when aggregated, in tetrads. Gynoecium 2 carpelled. The pistil 2–8 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 2–4 locular (morphologically), or 4–8 locular (often, ostensibly, via false septa). Locules secondarily divided by ‘false septa’, or without ‘false septa’. Gynoecium median; stylate. Styles 1; attenuate from the ovary; much longer than the ovary at anthesis. Stigmas 1–2; 2 - lobed; wet type; papillate; Group III type. Placentation axile. Ovules 1 per locule (Josephinia), or 2–50 per locule (to ‘many’); pendulous, or horizontal, or ascending; anatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy (often with hooks, or prickly); dehiscent, or indehiscent; a capsule, or a nut. Capsules loculicidal. Seeds thinly endospermic, or non-endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds with amyloid. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight. Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.

Physiology, biochemistry. Aluminium accumulation not found.

Geography, cytology, number of species. World distribution: Africa, Madagascar, India, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Australia. 50 species.

Economic uses, etc. Commercial edible oil from Sesamum (benne).