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  • Putranjivaceae Endl. ex Meisn.

This family is accepted.
Drypetes longifololia (Euphorbiaceae)


Esser, H.-J. (2009). Neotropical Putranjivaceae.


Trees or rarely shrubs, lacking latex and extrafloral nectaries. Leaves alternate , often distichous , simple , base usually slightly to distinctly unequal ( oblique ), margins entire to (spinose-) dentate or crenulate , petiolate , short, eglandular, stipules present but caducous , eglandular, scaly , latex absent, indumentum simple , venation pinnate , brochidodromous . Inflorescences unisexual, dioecious to rarely polygamo- dioecious or monoecious , axillary or on older leafless nodes or cauliflorous , fasciculate -glomerulate or (pistillate) flowers sometimes solitary, sessile ; bracts small, inconspicuous. Flowers actinomorphic , pedicellate, with 4-5(-7) imbricate , free to nearly free , often unequal sepals, petals absent. Staminateflowers with 4-12 stamens, filaments free , anthers basifixed, introrse to rarely extrorse, bilocular , opening with longitudinal slits, disc intrastaminal, flat, entire to variously lobed , pollen 3-colporate, tectate, psilate, or lalongate, pistillode minute or absent. Pistillateflowers without staminodes, disc annular or cupulate (rarely absent), ovary hypogynous, syncarpous, with 1-2(-3) locules , usually pubescent , ovules 2 per locule , placentation axile , anatropous, bitegmic (very rarely unitegmic), style short to absent, stigmas 1-2(-3), short thick and flattened, entire or sometimes bifid. Fruits indehiscent , drupaceous , globose to ovoid - ellipsoid , exocarp and mesocarp leathery to fleshy , endocarp crustaceous , usually 1-seeded by abortion (sometimes 2-seeded); seeds  ellipsoid to globose , smooth, anatropous, ecarunculate, sarcotesta when present thin, endosperm copious, embryo straight, cotyledons broad. Chromosome number usually 2n = 40.

General Description
Notes on delimitation
  • The Putranjivaceae were included in the Euphorbiaceae subfamily Phyllanthoideae [now Phyllanthaceae] for a long time, but were recognized as unusual there because of, among others, the presence of glucosinolates, the unusual fruits and different chromosome base numbers.
  • Native - Drypetes.
Number of genera
  • Putranjivaceae are pantropical and comprise ca. 4 genera. In the Neotropics they are represented by 1 genus: Drypetes
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • The Putranjivaceae are represented by one genus in the Neotropics, occurring in several vegetation types but usually in tropical moist forests: Drypetes Vahl - a pantropical genus with 21 species in the Neotropics.
  • In the New World the majority of species are Caribbean.
Other important characters
  • Dried leaves are often of a greyish colour.
  • Fresh bark and leaves often have a taste of pepper or radish.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • The single genus is characterized morphologically by- simple leaves that are nearly always unequal (oblique) at their base- unisexual flowers in axillary glomerules (or solitary pistillate flowers)- indehiscentdrupaceous and usually pubescent fruits with 1 or (more rarely) 2 seeds.
  • The Putranjivaceae also contains glucosinolates (mustard oil glycosides).
Important literature

Govaerts, R., Frodin, G.G. & Radcliffe-Smith, A. 2000. World checklist and bibliography of Euphorbiaceae (with Pandaceae). London: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Pax, F. & Hoffmann, K. 1922. Drypetes. In: E. Engler (ed.), Das Pflanzenreich IV.147.xv (Euphorbiaceae -Phyllanthoideae-Phyllantheae): 229-279. W. Engelmann, Leipzig.

Putranjivaceae Endl. ex Meisn. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Pl. Vasc. Gen. [Meisner] Tab. Diagn. 345, Comm. 258. 1842 [13-15 Feb 1842] (as "Putranjiveae") (1842)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016)

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

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