Cornaceae Bercht. & J.Presl

First published in Prir. Rostlin 2(23*): 91, 92. 1825 (1825)nom. cons.
This family is accepted

Descriptions

Cornaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1958

Morphology General Habit
Trees, shrubs or rarely perennial herbs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, entire or serrate; stipules usually absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite or dioecious, in racemes, panicles, umbels, clusters of Cymules or compact heads
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx-tube adnate to the ovary; sepals 4–5 or absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4–5 or rarely absent, imbricate or valvate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens 4–5, alternating with the petals
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary inferior, usually 2-celled but often 1–4 (–10)-celled; ovules pendulous, one per loculus
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a drupe or berry; embryo small in abundant endosperm
[FTEA]

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

Morphology General Habit
Trees or shrubs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite or alternate simple, margins entire or denticulate, primary venation pinnate, arching, trichomes T-shaped, branched or simple when present; stipules very rarely present
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences terminal occasionally axillary, cymose, involucres petal -like
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers bisexual (rarely unisexual and dioecious), small, actinomorphic; sepals 4(-10), connate, adnate to ovary; petals 4(-10), free, valvate; stamens alternipetalous and equal in number to petals, free, anthers dorsifixed, dehiscing via full-length longitudinal slits; ovary inferior, carpels 2, syncarpous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a grooved, globose or ovoid drupe
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds 2, flat.
Distribution
Found predominately at high elevations (1,400-3,000m above sea level) below the forest canopy in mountainous regions of Central America, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Also cultivated in Brazil as an ornamental and for its wood throughout most of the Neotropical countries. Native.
Diagnostic
Key differences from similar families: Some Viburnum species look similar to Cornaceae, but the latter often have 4-merous flowers, they lack stellateindumentum, and their lateralveins ascend towards the apex of the blade (Stevens, 2008 onwards). A handy diagnostic trick in the field is to remove a suspected leaf, fold the leaf blade in half horizontally to form a crease, do this repeatedly until you are able to gently tear the leaf along the crease and gently pull it apart. The bottom half of the leaf will appear to hang in mid air, but on closer inspection you can see sticky threads stemming from the leaf veins. Distinguishing characters (always present): Actinodromousvenation. Involucres of petal -like bracts subtend the inflorescences. Sepals adnate to ovary. Petals valvate. Ovary inferior. Epigynous disk on top of ovary. Drupaceousfruit. Notable genera and distinguishing features: See distribution.
Note
Number of genera: Cornus L.: Cornus disciflora DC., C. excelsa Kunth, C. florida L. and C. peruviana J. F. Macbr.  growing in the Neotropics. Nyssa L.: with two species (N. sylvatica Marshall and N. talamancana Hammel & N.Zamora) in Mexico to Panama. Notes on delimitation: Cornus L. is placed in the Cornaceae which typifies the Cornales currently placed in the Asterid clade. (APG III, 2009).
[NTK]

Gemma Bramley, Anna Trias-Blasi & Richard Wilford (2023). The Kew Temperate Plant Families Identification Handbook. Kew Publishing Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Recognition
Characters of similar families: Hydrangeaceae: perianth 4–12-merous, stamens 8–200, fruits usually capsules. Garryaceae: evergreen, dioecious. Rubiaceae: interpetiolar stipules. Viburnaceae: usually 5-merous, usually 3–5 carpels.
Morphology General Habit
Trees or shrubs, rarely rhizomatous herbs, mostly deciduous, rarely dioecious
Morphology Leaves Stipules
Stipules absent
Morphology Leaves
Leaves simple, usually opposite; blade margins entire; venation pinnate or parallel; often pubescent with hairs unbranched or T-shaped; fine threads present when leaves torn in Cornus
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences terminal, rarely axillary, cymose, paniculate, corymbose, umbellate, or capitulate; bracts minute, not petaloid, early caducous, or 4(–6) and usually showy
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers usually bisexual; perianth and androecium epigynous; hypanthium completely adnate to ovary; sepals 4(–5), distinct or slightly connate; petals 4(–5), distinct, valvate, creamy white or yellow, rarely dark reddish purple or partially dark reddish purple; nectary present, intrastaminal; stamens 4(–5), distinct, free; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits; pistil 1, (1–)2(–4)-carpellate, ovary inferior, (1–)2(–4)-locular, placentation apical; ovules 1 per locule, apotropous to epitropous; style 1; stigmas 2
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a drupaceous berry, white, blue, red, or black, berries distinct or fused into a fleshy syncarpous compound fruit
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds 1–2 per fruit.
Distribution
Two genera: Cornus (ca. 60 species) and Alangium (ca. 57 species). Cornus is distributed in northern boreal and temperate regions (Eurasia to Indochina and North America), and also occurs at high elevations in (sub)tropical regions from South Sudan to southern Tropical Africa, and throughout Central America to Bolivia. Alangium occurs in the Old World (sub)tropics.
Note
Woody plants. Leaves simple, opposite. Flowers usually bisexual, perianth 4(–5)-merous, stamens 4(–5), pistil 1, style 1, stigmas 2; ovary inferior. Fruit usually a drupaceous berry, sometimes a syncarp.
Description Author
Isabel Larridon
[KTEMP-FIH]

Cornaceae, J. F. M. Cannon. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

Morphology General Habit
Trees, shrubs, rarely perennial herbs or woody lianes
Morphology Leaves
Leaves opposite or less commonly alternate, simple, exstipulate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual (then the plants usually monoecious or polygamodioecious), actinomorphic in cymes or panicles, umbels or rarely in capitula and then with large petal-like bracts
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx-tube adnate to the ovary, sepals 4–5
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4–5 (rarely lacking), aestivation imbricate or valvate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens the same number as the petals and alternating with them, anthers 2-celled dehiscing laterally or rarely introrsely
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary inferior, with (1)2–4 locules Style 1 or several rising from a glandular disk Placentation usually axile, with 1 anatropous pendulous ovule in each loculus Ovules with 1 integument
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit typically a drupe, sometimes a berry
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seed with copious endosperm and a small embryo
[FZ]

Alangiaceae, J. F. M. Cannon. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

Morphology General Habit
Trees or shrubs, sometimes spiny (but not in FZ area)
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate, entire to very slightly undulate or lobed; distinctly petiolate, often somewhat asymmetric at the base, stipules 0
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite regular, in few-flowered (in FZ area) axillary cymes with articulated pedicels
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx truncate or with 4–10 teeth
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4–10, valvate, linear, becoming strongly recurved at maturity, sometimes slightly coherent at the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens the same number as and alternating with the petals, or up to 2–4 times as many; free or connate at the base, more or less villous adaxially; anthers 2-locular, linear
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Nectaries
Disk subglobose, flattened above
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary inferior, 1–2-locular, style simple, clavate or 1–3-lobed; ovules solitary, pendulous in the loculi, with 2 integuments
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit drupaceous, crowned with the remains of the disk and sepals, l(2)-seeded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds with the embryo about equalling the endosperm
[FZ]

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

Morphology General Habit
Trees or shrubs, sometimes spiny
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate, simple; stipules absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, in axillary cymes; pedicels articulated
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx truncate or with 4–10 teeth
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4–10, mostly linear, valvate, at length recurved, sometimes coherent at the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens the same number as and alternate with the petals or 2–4 times as many, free or slightly connate at the base, more or less villous inside; anthers 2-celled, linear, opening lengthwise
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Nectaries
Disk cushion-like
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary inferior, 1–2-celled; style simple, clavate or lobed; ovule solitary, pendulous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a drupe crowned by the sepals and disk, 1-seeded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds with the embryo about equal to the endosperm
[FWTA]

Alangiaceae, B. Verdcourt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1958

Morphology General Habit
Trees or shrubs, often spiny
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate, exstipulate, petiolate, entire or lobed, often asymmetric at the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite, regular, in few to many-flowered axillary cymes
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx truncate or divided into 4–10 lobes, or denticulate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 4–10, linear, valvate, often joined at the extreme base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens equal in number to the petals and alternating with them or up to four times as many, free or slightly joined at the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Style simple, clavate or 2–3-lobed Ovary inferior, 1–2-celled, ovules solitary and pendulous in the cells
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a drupe crowned with sepals and disc, 1–2-seeded; seeds albuminous
[FTEA]

Sources

  • 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 Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. 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-nc-sa/3.0
  • The Kew Temperate Plant Families Identification Handbook

    • The Kew Temperate Plant Families Identification Handbook
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0