Anisophylleaceae Ridl.

First published in Fl. Malay Penins. 1: xxviii, 700. 1922 (1922)
This family is accepted


Prance, G.T. (2009). Neotropical Anisophylleaceae.


Trees or shrubs. Leaves simple , heterophyllous, in spirals or alternate , or four ranked, the margins entire , secondary veins palmately veined (3-5-plinerved). Stipules absent or minute. Inflorescence of axillary racemes or panicles. Flowers monoecious ; calyx 4- lobed ; petals 4, valvate , clawed or laciniate in Anisophyllea R.Br. ex Sabine; anthers 8, in two whorls, obdiplosteminous; epigynoous disc present; ovary inferior, 4-carpelled, syncarpous, ovules 1-2 per carpel , pendulous; styles 4. Fruit indehiscent , dry or drupe or a samara, one seeded (in Polygonanthus Ducke); germination hypogeal. n = 7, 8.

General Description
Notes on delimitation
  • Often formerly placed in Rhizophoraceae but differs in the spirally arranged exstipulate leaves and distinct styles and in the petals not aristate.
  • Now placed in the Cucurbitales by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group near to Begoniaceae.
  • Native
  • Polygonanthus endemic to Brazilian Amazonia
  • Anisophyllea also occurs in the Old World
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • Pantropical with four genera, two of which are Neotropical.
Distinguishing characters (always present)

Few defining characters:

  • Leaves often drying yellowish and often asymmetrical at base
  • Palmatevenation
  • Clawed or lacinate petals in Anisophyllea
  • Winged samara in Polygonanthus
Useful tips for generic identification

Key to genera of Neotropical Anisophyllaceae

1. Petals laciniate or clawed; fruit a capsule —Anisophyllea
1. Petals simple not clawed; fruit a samara—Polygonanthus

Important literature

Schwarbach, A. E. 2000. Systematic affinities of Rhizophoraceae and Anisophyllaceae, and intergeneric relationships within the Rhizophoraceae, based on chloroplast DNA, nuclear ribosomal DNA, and morphology. Am. Jour. Bot. 87:547-564.



  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2022 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Neotropikey

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