Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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K. Narayanan Nair & M.P. Nayar

Trees, shrubs, or sometimes woody climbers, or rarely herbs, often armed with spines or prickles, aromatic, glandular with pellucid glands containing fragrant essential oil; wood often yellowish. Leaves exstipulate, alternate, opposite or whorled, pinnately compound, digitately trifoliolate, pinnatisect, uni-or bifoliolate, or simple, pellucid gland-dotted throughout or along margins of leaf/leaflet blades; petioles often articulated at base of blade (mostly as in unifoliolate leaves), cylindric, marginate, or sometimes winged. Inflorescences terminal and/or axillary, paniculate, cymose, racemose, or rarely of solitary flower. Flowers bracteate, bracteolate, bisexual and/or functionally unisexual (mostly polygamous), more usually hypogynous, regular, or rarely irregular, often fragrant. Sepals 5 or 4, rarely 2 or 3, seldom undifferentiated, distinct or connate at base, usually imbricate, rarely valvate. Petals generally as many as and alternate with sepals, distinct, or rarely connate into a tubular corolla, imbricate or sometimes valvate, variously coloured as greenish, white, cream, yellow, or purplish, glandular or not, rarely absent. Stamens usually twice as many as the petals, generally obdiplostemonous, sometimes as many as or, 3 or 4 times as many as petals, or rarely even up to 60, sometimes one whorl reduced to staminodes; filaments distinct or sometimes monadelphous or irregularly polyadelphous; anthers dithecous, tetrasporangiate, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, often dorsifixed; connectives usually gland-tipped; pollen grains (2-) 3 - 6 (-8)-colporate, binucleate or rarely trinucleate. Disk nectariferous, intrastamillal, annular or cupulate, sometimes modified into a more or less elongated gynophore, rarely obsolete. Gynoecium of (2) 4 or 5, or rarely up to 20 carpels or sometimes only one carpel completely united to form a compound, multilocular, entire or apically indented ovary with terminal, single style, or only partly united at base or free with coherent styles, or rarely septa of carpels incompletely united into unilocular ovary with intruded parietal placentae or sometimes reduced as pistillodes; ovules 1 or 2, or rarely many in each locule, superposed, collateral or rarely biseriate. Fruits of various types, capsular, follicular, baccate, drupaceous or hespiridia; seeds 1 or 2, or many per fruit, variable in size, shape and colour; cotyledons large, straight or curved, convolute or conduplicate; endosperm more or less abundant or rarely wanting.

Chromosome no. x = 9.

Tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of the world, but most abundant in arid zones of the southern hemisphere in Australia and S. Africa; ca 150 genera and ca 1600 species, 27 genera and 76 species in India, of which Ruta, Severenia, Triphasia and some species of Citrus are cultivated and getting naturalized; 8 species which are occasionally but exclusively cultivated in India arc treated separately.

Notes. The family Rutaceae is of great economic importance as the source of citrus fruits of commerce such as the citrons, lemons, limes, oranges, pomelos (all from the genus Citrus), the kumquat (Fortunella), and the trifoliolate orange (Poncirus). The aromatic herb, the 'common rue' (Ruta), has traditionally been known in popular medicine. The curry leaf plant (Murraya koenigii) is grown in several countries for its aromatic leaves that are esteemed in cooking and medicine. The East Indian satinwood tree (Chloroxylon swietenia) and several other trees (e.g. Vepris bilocularis) are valued for their timber. The Indian bael fruit tree (Aegle mamelos) and the wood apple (Limonia acidissima) provide edible fruits which possess high medicinal properties. The wampee (Clausena lansium) is widely cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries including India for its delicious fruits. Rutaceae also includes many ornamental plants such as Calodendrum capense, Choisya temata, Dictamnus albus (dittany), Murraya paniculata (orange jasmine), Triphasia trifolia (Chinese lime berry) and Severinia buxifolia (box orange) which are cultivated for their glossy green foliage, sweet-scented flowers or bright attractive fruits.

Rutaceae is a heterogeneous family comprising various divergent groups, some of these with many unusual or exceptional characters. It is rather difficult to link Rutaceae with any particular related family. But, it has generally been believed that morphological, phytochemical, anatomical and polynogical evidences show closer relationships with the Simaroubaceae, Meliaceae, Burseraceae and Anacardiaceae.

The most important and diagnostic character of the Rutaceae is the presence ·of pellucid gland dots in leaves, floral parts and fruits. These oil dots are lysigenous in origin and more usually they contain aromatic etherial oils or sometimes oil cells or scattered resin cells.

It is considered that the Rutaceae comprises 7 subfamilies and 12 tribes. In the present treatment Engler's (1931) classification is followed for the subfamilies Rutoideae, Flindersioideae and Toddalioideae while that of Swingle (1967) for the subfamily Aurantioideae.

Literature. CHAKRABORTY, D.P. (1964). Family Rutaceae: a biochemical systematic view point. Bull. Bot. Soc. Bengal 18: 103 - 118. DASILVA, M.F., G.F. DAS, & F. EHRENDORFER (1988). Chemosys-tematics of the Rutaceae: suggestions for a more natural taxonomy and evolutionary interpretation of the family. Pl. Syat. Evol. 161: 97 - 134. ENGLER, A. (1931). Rutaccaedn ENGLER & PRANTL,(continued by HARMS, H.) Nat. Pflanzenfam. ed. 2, 19a: 187 - 358. PAKRASHI, S.C.(1964). Versatility of family Rutaceae in producing alkaloids. Bull. Bot. Soc. Bengal 18: 119 - 134. STONE, B.C. (1976) Rutaceae in: WHITEMORE, T.C. (ed.), Tree flora of Malaya 1: 367 - 387. STONE, B.C. (1985). Rutaceae. in: DASSANAYAKE, M.D. (ed.), A revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon 5: 406 - 176. STONE, B.C. & T.G. HARTLEY (1994). Supplement to the Rutaceae in peninsular Malaysia. Gard. Bull. Straits Settlem. 34: 121 - 140. SWINGLE, W.T. (1944) , The botany of Citrus and its wild relatives of the orange subfamily (Family Rutaceae, subfamily Auranlioideae). in: WEBBER, H.J. & L.D. BATCHELOR (ed.), The Cirrus Industry 1: 129 - 474. SWINGLE, W.T. & P.C. REECE (1967). The botany of Citrus and its wild relatives of the orange subfamily (Family Rutaceae, subfamily Auranlioidcae) in REUTHER, W., WEBBER. H.J. & L.D. BATCHELOR (ed.), The Citru,Industry 1: 190 - 430. TANAKA, T. (1930). Enumeration of lndian species of Rutaceae- Aurantioideae (Revisio Aurantiacearum VI). J. Bot. 68: 225 - 236. TANAKA, T. (1936). The taxonomy and nomenclature of Rutaceae-Aurantioideae. Blumea 2: 101 - 110. TANAKA, T. (1937). Further revision of Rutaceae Aurantioideae of lndia and Ceylon (Revisio Aurantiacearum VIII). J. Indian Bot. Soc. 16: 227 - 240. UMA DEVI, I., M.DANIEL& SD. SABNIS (l990). Chemotaxonomy of some Rutaceae. Indian. J. Bot. 13: 23 - 28. WATERMAN, P.G. (1975). Alkaloids of the Rutaceae: their distribution and systematic significance. Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 3: 149-180. WATERMAN, P.G.(1990) Chemosystematics of the Rutaceae-Comments on the interpretataion of Da Silva & al. Pl. Syst. Evol. 173: 39 - 48.


1a. Carpels usually 4 or 5, often united only by the styles above but free below; fruits follicles or capsules, splitting along the upper suture (loculicidal) with a detached endocarp 3. RUTOIDEAE
b. Carpels 2 - 20, completely or sometimes incompletely united; fruits not as above, dry or fleshy, indehiscent (exept in subfamily Flindersioideae) 2
2a. Carpels 3 - 5, united, each locule with 2 - 8 ovules in 2 rows; fruits loculicidal or septicidal capsules with an adherent endocarp; seeds winged 2. FLINDERSIOIDEAE
b. Carpels 2 - 20, completely united or nearly so, each locule with lor 2 ovules (rarely more); fruits drupaceous or baccate; seeds not winged 3
3a. Carpels 2 - 5, rarely only one developing, fully united or sometimes only incompletely united; fruits 2 - 4 druplets united only at the base or a complete 2 - 5 -locular single drupe; seeds endospermous 4. TODDALIOIDEAE
b. Carpels 2 - 20, completely united; fruits baccate or hespiridia, with a glandular leathery or woody pericarp, with more or less juicy or mucilaginous pulp with or without pulp-vesicles; seeds nonendospermous 1. CITROIDEAE

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