Peridiscaceae Kuhlm.

This family is accepted.


Every, J.L.R. (2010). Neotropical Peridiscaceae.


Trees, deciduous . Leaves alternate , simple , lamina leathery, margins entire , tri-nerved, large pit on the underside in each axil of basal lateral veins ; pulvinate at both ends of petiole ; stipules present,  intrapetiolar , caducous (leaving prominent scars). Inflorescence axillary racemes (Peridiscus Benth.) or fascicles (Whittonia Sandwith), bracteoles large and  persistent . Flowers regularly symmetrical, bisexual ; sepals 4-5(-6) (Peridiscus) or 7 (Whittonia), imbricate , reflexed when open; apetalous ; stamens numerous; ovary superior , syncarpous, half immersed in disc and glabrous (Peridiscus) or woolly and on top of disc (Whittonia); carpels 3-4; styles 3(-4), free , ovules 6-8, pendulous. Fruit drupaceous (unknown in Whittonia). Seed 1 per fruit .

General Description
Notes on delimitation
  • This little known family is currently assigned to the Saxifragales (APGIII).
Number of genera
  • Two of the family's three genera have been collected in the Neotropics, both of which are monotypic: Peridiscus lucidus Benth and Whittonia guianensis Sandwith.
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • Collected in both Brazil and the Guianas.
Other important characters
  • Fruit only known from Peridiscus.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • No petals.
  • Stipules leave prominent scars.
  • Leaves alternate.
  • Leaf with three main veins.
  • Pulvinus at both top and bottom of petiole.
  • Large, persistent bracteoles.
  • Sepals imbricate.
  • Disk present.
Important literature

APG III. 2009. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161(3): 105-121.

Heywood, V.H.H. 2007. Peridiscaceae. In: V.H. Heywood, R.K. Brummitt, A. Culham and O. Seberg (eds.). Flowering plant families of the world. P. 249. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Mabberley, D.J. 2008. Mabberley's plant book. Third edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Stevens, P.F. 2008. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 9 onwards.


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

Morphology General Habit
Trees or shrubs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate, simple, entire or crenate; stipules present, sometimes small and early caducous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers hermaphrodite, racemose or spicate, actinomorphic, hypogynous or perigynous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals 5, open or imbricate in bud, free, or united only at the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals 5, free, imbricate in bud
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium
Stamens numerous, or 5 fertile opposite the petals alternating with 5 staminodes, free from each other; anthers 4-celled, opening laterally
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Nectaries
Disk present or absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium
Ovary superior, syncarpous, 1-celled, with a central column; ovules 6–8, pendulous from the apex of the column, anatropous; styles 3 (–4), free
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit with persistent calyx, capsular, dehiscing into 3 (–4) valves, or by the cohesion of 2 valves appearing 2-valved
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seed solitary in each fruit, with copious endosperm and small straight embryo

Peridiscaceae Kuhlm. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Arq. Serv. Florest. 3: 4. 1950 (1950)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016)

  • Flora of West Tropical Africa

    Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Neotropikey

    Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.