Lecythidaceae A.Rich.

This family is accepted.

[FTEA]

Lecythidaceae, G. R. W. Sangai (East African Herbarium). Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1971

Morphology General Habit
Trees or shrubs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves simple, alternate, exstipulate or stipules small
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers usually rather large and showy, regular or irregular, hermaphrodite
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 2–6-lobed or circumscissile, if the lobes free then valvate or slightly imbricate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4–6 or lacking, free or connate at the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens numerous, in several rows, free or mostly basally united into a short tube, the inner filaments shorter and often without anthers; anthers basifixed or rarely adnate, opening by slits
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary inferior or half-inferior, 1–6(–many)-locular; ovules 1–many in each locule, axile or pendulous from near the apex; style simple or shortly branched at the apex
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit woody, fibrous or fleshy, indehiscent or operculate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds without or with thin endosperm; embryo straight or curved, sometimes solid and undifferentiated, but in many genera with normal cotyledons

[NTK]

Zappi, D. (2009). Neotropical Lecythidaceae.

Morphology
Description

Trees or shrubs, sometimes poorly branched, very rarely woody lianas, exudate absent, all parts smelling of linseed oil, bark fibrous . Stipules absent or inconspicuous. Leaves alternate , sometimes condensed at the apex of the branch and then looking verticillate , petiolate , often glabrous , venation pinnate , secondary and tertiary venation often parallel, blades entire , margin serrate to crenate , often appearing entire . Inflorescences generally terminal , sometimes cauliflorous or ramiflorous, racemose or paniculate, rarely reduced to a fascicle , flowers very rarely solitary. Flowers hermaphrodite , epigynous , calyx (2-)4-6(-12)- merous , lobes free or fused, corolla (4-)5-8(-18)- merous ( corolla substituted by staminodes in Asteranthos Desf.), lobes fused at base or free , white, cream, orange, dull-red, pink, lilac or pale yellow; stamens (10-)100+, generally adnate at base forming a ring and partially fused to the corolla , or numerous staminodes fused into a cap-like structure that covers the style and stigma , anthers dehiscing longitudinally or by pores; ovary inferior, (2-)4-6-locular and with axile , pendulous or erect placentation, many-ovuled, style present, generally stout. Fruit a woody circumcissile capsule (pyxidium) or indehiscent capsule , sometimes with fleshy , smelly pulp, many-seeded; seeds generally large, often winged , sometimes with woody testa (Bertholletia Bonpl. ), embryo straight, cotyledons sometimes absent.

General Description
Notes on delimitation
  • Together with the Styracaceae, Sapotaceae and Myrsinaceae, the Lecythidaceae is currently placed within order Ericales (APGII, 2003).
Number of genera
  • Allantoma Miers - Amazonian Venezuela and Brazil, one species, A. lineata Miers
  • Asteranthos Desf. - Eastern Colombia, Southwestern Venezuela and Northwestern Brazil (upper Rio Negro basin), one species, A. brasiliensis Desf.
  • Bertholletia  Bonpl. - Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil to the Guianas, one species, B. excelsa Humb. & Bonpl. (Brazil nut).
  • Cariniana Casar. - Colombia and Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, around 9 species.
  • Corythophora R.Knuth - Brazil and the Guianas, 4 species.
  • Couratari Aubl. - Costa Rica to French Guiana, Northern Bolivia and Brazil, 19 species.
  • Couroupita Aubl. - Nicaragua to the Guianas, Peru and Brazil, 3 species.
  • Eschweilera Mart. ex DC. - Trinidad-Tobago, Honduras to French Guiana, Bolivia and Brazil, the largest genus in the family, with over 90 described species.
  • Grias L. - Jamaica, Belize to Peru, around 6 species.
  • Gustavia L. - Costa Rica to French Guiana, Northern Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, over 40 species.
  • Lecythis S.A.Mori - Costa Rica to French Guiana, Peru and Brazil, 26 species.
Status

See above

General notes
  • Bertholletiaexcelsa is a source of income for local populations in Amazonian Brazil and Bolivia (Brazil-nut, castanha-do-Pará).
  • Couroupitaguianensis Aubl., the cannon-ball tree, is often used as a street-tree in Rio de Janeiro, despite the weight of its fruits that threaten parked vehicles.
  • Many species are good timber sources.
Distribution
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • Represented in the Neotropics by 11 genera with around 180 species.
  • Lecythidaceae has its main distribution centered within tropical, humid forests, hardly reaching Argentina and Paraguay and being absent from Chile.
  • In the Caribbean only Grias L. has been recorded in nature.
Diagnostic
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • Woody plants with fibrousbark and linseed smell.
  • Flowers with numerous stamens.
  • Ovary inferior.
  • Fruits large, woody, 2-many-seeded.
Other important characters
  • Leaves crenate, often microscopically so.
  • Flowers with numerous stamens basally fused into a ring or staminodes forming a  cap-like structure covering the stigma.
  • Fruit often a woody circumcissile capsule called a pyxidium.
Key differences from similar families
  • May be confused with Myrtaceae because it has inferior ovary and flowers with many stamens, differing in alternate leaves and lack of pellucid dots or glands (vs. Myrtaceae with generally opposite leaves and pellucid dots)
  • Shares some characters with Chrysobalanaceae (hypanthium and flowers with many stamens) but differs in having fruit with many seeds and fibrousbark (vs. one-seeded drupes and bark not fibrous in Chrysobalanaceae).
Useful tips for generic identification

1. Actinomorphic-flowered genera, woody or fibrous berries, elongated woody capsule or winged capsules ... 2
1. Zygomorphic-flowered genera, rounded or elongated fruits, dehiscent or not ... 5

2. With dehiscent fruits ... 3
2. With indehiscent fuits ... 4

3. Lacking petals, capsule with wing formed by expanded calyx... Asteranthos
3. Woody elongated pixidium with winged seeds, petals 6 ... Cariniana
3. Woody elongated pixidium, seeds not winged, petals 5 ... Allantoma

4. Fruit rounded woody berry, flowers large with a staminal ring, petals 6-8(-18) ... Gustavia
4. Fruit oblong fibrous or woody berry, petals 4 ... Grias

5. With dehiscent fruits ... 6
5. With indehiscent fruits ... 7

6. Fruit elongated pixidium, seeds winged, staminal cap fully coiled ... Couratari
6. Fruit rounded to disk-shaped pixidium with few seeds; staminal cap fully coiled ... Eschweilera
6. Large rounded pixidium; staminal cap not coiled ... Lecythis

7. Inflorescences terminal, flowers pale yellow; rounded fruit with hard, ridged large seeds inside ... Bertholletia
7. Inflorescences cauliflorous, to 1 m long, flowers very showy; large indehiscent fruit with small seeds immersed in smelly pulp ... Couroupita

Notable genera and distinguishing features

See above

Literature
Important literature

APG II, 2003. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141(4): 399-436.

Gentry, A.H. 1996. A field guide to the families and genera of Woody Plants of Northwest South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.

Mori, S.A. & Prance, G.T. 1990. Lecythidaceae part II: The zygomorphic flowered New World genera. Flora Neotropica Monograph 21(2): 1-376.Mori, S. & Prance, G.T. The Lecythidaceae Pages, at http://sweetgum.nybg.org/lp/index.html (visited 12/2008). Prance, G.T. & Mori, S.A. 1979. Lecythidaceae part I: The actinomorphic flowered New World genera. Flora Neotropica Monograph 21(1): 1-270.

Souza, V.C. & Lorenzi, H. 2005. Botânica Sistemática: guia ilustrativo para identificação das famílias de Angiospermas da flora brasileira, baseado em APG II. Nova Odessa, Brazil: Instituto Plantarum.

[FWTA]

Lecythidaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:1. 1954

Morphology General Habit
Trees or shrubs; leaves simple, alternate, not gland-dotted but sometimes with large glands on the margin; stipules absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers usually rather large and showy, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, hermaphrodite
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx 4–6-lobed, lobes valvate or imbricate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4–6, free or united into a campanulate tube and then with many ribs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens numerous, in several series, sometimes the outer ones modified into staminodes and resembling a corona; filaments mostly united; anthers basifixed or rarely adnate, opening at the side by slits; staminal disk sometimes lobed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary inferior or semi-inferior, 2- or more-celled; style mostly simple; ovules 1 to many on axile placentas, sometimes pendulous from near the apex of the cells
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit woody, fibrous or fleshy, indehiscent or operculate at the apex
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds without endosperm; embryo divided or entire

[FTEA]

Scytopetalaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1968

Morphology General Habit
Trees or shrubs, sometimes cauliflorous
Morphology Leaves
Leaves simple, exstipulate, alternate, sessile or petiolate, entire or very rarely denticulate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences axillary, terminal or often borne on the old stems, paniculate, racemose or in fascicles; bracts small, soon falling
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite, pedicellate, the pedicel sometimes jointed at the apex
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx cupuliform or shallowly tray-shaped, entire, lobed or slightly toothed, persistent at the base of the fruit
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 3–16, valvate or sometimes the bud bursting somewhat irregularly; lobes free or joined at the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens numerous, in 3–6 ranks inserted on the annular disk, essentially epipetalous, often falling with the corolla; filaments free or joined at the base; anthers basifixed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary superior or inferior, 3–8-locular, each locule with 2-several ovules; style 1, filiform; stigma small, entire or slightly lobed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a woody or crustaceous capsule, or indehiscent but scarcely fleshy, unilocular
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds 1–8, with abundant endosperm which is often ruminate

[FWTA]

Scytopetalaceae, Hutchinson and Dalziel. Flora of West Tropical Africa 1:2. 1958

Morphology General Habit
Trees; branchlets sometimes winged
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate, simple, exstipulate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, in terminal panicles or axillary racemes or fasciculate on the old wood
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx cupular, entire or toothed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 3–10, valvate, free or shortly connate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens numerous, in several series on the margin of or on the disk, free or united towards the base; anthers 2-celled, opening by a pore or slit at the side or towards the top
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary superior, 3–6-celled; ovules 2 to several in each cell, axile
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit woody
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds with ruminate or uniform copious endosperm and linear embryo

[FZ]

Barringtoniaceae, A. Fernandes. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

Morphology General Habit
Evergreen trees or shrubs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate, exstipulate, usually large, simple, not gland-dotted
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers showy, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, bisexual, solitary or in fascicles on the old wood or in terminal racemes
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Receptacle
Receptacle ± crateriform
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx (2–3)4–5-lobed, the lobes sometimes calyptriform, covering the petals and stamens in bud
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4 or 0 (Napoleonaed), free or somewhat adnate to the staminal ring
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens ¥, in several verticils, all fertile or only some fertile and accompanied by numerous antherless staminodes, the outer series of staminodes united and forming a radiate or cup-shaped pseudocorolla; filaments usually united into a ring of varying depth; anthers basifixed, opening by lateral slits; staminal disk sometimes lobed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary inferior or semi-inferior, 2(3)–5-locular; style very long and filiform or short and expanded into a broad peltate disk; ovules l-¥ per loculus, anatropous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit woody, fibrous or fleshy, indehiscent or operculate at the top, crowned by the persistent calyx-segments
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds without endosperm; embryo entire or divided

Lecythidaceae A.Rich. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Dict. Class. Hist. Nat. [Bory] 9: 269. 1825 [25 Feb 1825] (as "Lecythideae") (1825)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/boj.12385

  • Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora Zambesiaca
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

  • Flora of West Tropical Africa

    Flora of West Tropical Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

  • Neotropikey

    Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0