Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs or undershrubs, perennial, monoecious, many-stemmed. Leaves alternate or distichous, petiolate, penninerved, glabrous to pilose, with a few glands at base; stipules entire or apically divided into several ciliae. Inflorescences extra-axillary spikes, each bearing a single female flower at base and many male flowers in thyrses at apical part of the spike. Male flowers: 1 - 3 in each bract; calyx minute, unequally 3-lobed or deeply 3-partite; petals and disc absent; stamens 2 - 4; filaments free or shortly connate; anther-thecae distinct, parallel. Female flowers: solitary in axil of each bract, at the base of the raceme; calyx 3-lobed or 3-partite, persistent; petals and disc absent; ovary 3-loculed; ovule 1 in each locule, pendulous; styles free or connate at base, revolute or spreading. Fruits capsular, consisting of 3 cocci separating from a columella; seeds 3, with a large persistent caruncle; testa smooth; endosperm fleshy; cotyledons flat.

Mainly Neotropical, sometimes in temperate N. America, Asia and Australasia, ca 15 species; one in India.




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