Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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K. Rajasekaran

Shrubs, hemiparasitic on trees or rarely parasitic on roots, sometimes dioecious; indumentum of candelabra, abietiform, stellate, conchiform or anvil hairs, malpighian hairs, usually represented by one type or occasionally more than one type. Leaves opposite or whorled, rarely alternate or both, simple, entire, exstipulate, curvipinnately, rectipinnately or rarely palmatipinnately nerved, petiolate or sessile. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, rarely ramiflorous, cymose, umbellate, glomerate, as simple or compound dichasium, or often spikes, centripetal or centrifugal pseudoracemes; flowers solitary, paired or 3 together in axils of bracts, bisexual or unisexual, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, 4 - 6-merous. Calyx (calyculus) absent or forming a reduced epigynous rim, rarely 4 - 6-toothed. Corolla choripetalous or sympetalous, valvate, 3 - 6-merous; petals 3 - 6 (rarely absent), free or connate into a tube; lobes acute or obtuse, often coiled and interlocked at anthesis. Stamens 3 - 6, opposite and inserted on petals or at their base; filaments flat, terete or subterete; anthers basifixed or occasionally dorsifixed, multilocellate or quadrilocellate, sometimes unilocellate or transversely locellate, dehiscing longitudinally or by terminal pores or transverse slits; connective prolonged into a sterile apex. Disc present or absent. Ovary inferior, unilocular, glabrous or hairy, occasionally rugose or muricate; style 1, simple (or absent); stigma capitate, conical, lobed or papillate; ovule solitary on basal placenta. Fruit a pseudocarp, berry, drupe or samaroid, glabrous or hairy, rugose, tubercled or pitted; seed 1, often sticky, without testa; endosperm copious, succulent or sometimes absent, with or without horns, mamillate or non-mamillate; embryo linear, small, straight, 0.3 - 1.2 times the length of the endosperm; cotyledons sometimes 3 - 6 or absent.

Pantropical, mostly in Southern Hemisphere, extending to temperate zones, ca 68 genera and ca 900 species; 8 genera and 49 species in India.

Notes. The anatomical and palynological characters given for the species are from the author's papers published in J. Swamy Bot. Club, Vol. 24: pages 43-56. 2007, unless otherwise stated.

Literature. BARLOW, B. A. (1997). Loranthaceae in Flora Malesiana 13: 209 - 401. DANSER, B. H. (1929). On the taxonomy and the nomenclature of the Loranthaceae of Asia and Australia. Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, Ser. III, 10: 291 - 373. DIXIT, S. N. (1962). Rank of the subfamilies of Loranthoideae and Viscoideae. Bull. Bot. Surv. India 4: 49 - 55. JOHRI, B. M. & A. K. BHATNAGAR (1972). Loranthaceae - Botanical Monograph. CSIR, New Delhi. KUIJT, J. (2008). A note on stamen position and petal number in Loranthaceae. Blumea 55(1): 224 - 225. RAJASEKARAN, K. (1986 - 1987). Studies in Indian Loranthaceae I - VI. J. Swamy Bot. Club 3: 15 - 18, 85 - 90, 157 - 165; ibid. 4: 1 - 3; ibid. 24: 43 - 56. RAJASEKARAN, K. (2007). Studies in Indian Loranthaceae VIII. Inflorescence. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 31(1): 177 - 180.


1 a. Corolla choripetalous; petals free completely or almost to the base, but sometimes pseudosympetalous or sometimes coherent 4. Helixanthera
b. Corolla sympetalous; petals fused up to the middle or higher, sometimes with corolla-tube deeply split on one side 2
2 a. Bracts conspicuous, ca 15 mm long, arranged in involucres of 3 - 4, enclosing 3 - 4 flowers 8. Tolypanthus
b. Bracts small or inconspicuous, 1 - 6 mm long, usually scale-like, 1 - 3 at base of ovary or forming a cup-like rim on rachis of inflorescence 3
3 a. Corolla 6-merous 4
b. Corolla 5- or 4-merous 5
4 a. Inflorescence axis decussately flattened; flowers sessile, few in a capitulum, bornein hollows; peduncle subtended by 1 - 4 whorls of bracts; floral bracts and bracteoles longer than ovary, enclosing whole of calyculus; bracteoles free 2. Elytranthe
b. Inflorescence axis terete or quadrangular or triangular; flowers pedicelled, not borne in hollows; peduncles not subtended by whorl of bracts; floral bracts and bracteoles shorter than ovary, not enclosing the calyculus; bracteoles connate 5. Macrosolen
5 a. Flowers in dichasial fascicles; flower buds lanceolate; corolla-lobes twisted and interlocked after anthesis; filaments coiled 3. Helicanthes
b. Flowers in centrifugal pseudoracemose or compound dichasium or simple dichasium or reduced dichasium; flower buds otherwise; corolla-lobes reflexed or ob-liquely erect after anthesis; filaments erect or recurved 6
6 a. Corolla 5-merous, slightly zygomorphic, not deeply split on one side 1. Dendrophthoe
b. Corolla mostly 4-merous, zygomorphic with a deep split on the inner side of the curved tube 7
7 a. Inflorescence usually 3 - 10-flowered simple raceme, rarely a reduced 2-flowered umbel; fruit pyriform, obovoid or clavate, distinctly stipitate, not woody 6. Scurrula
b. Inflorescence a few-flowered simple 2 - 5-rayed umbel; fruit urceolate or ellipsoid, not stipitate, warty 7. Taxillus

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