Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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R. Mathur

Evergreen trees, shrubs or woody climbers, often root parasites. Branches zig-zag in internodal regions. Leaves simple, alternate, entire, exstipulate, both surfaces usually pustulate. Inflorescence axillary racemes, spikes, or panicles, rarely umbellate or subumbellate. Flowers pedicelled or sessile, small, regular usually bisexual, sometimes unisexual or polygamous, 4 - 5-merous, with a single perianth whorl. Perianth lobes free or united at base, entire or 4 - 5-lobed, sometimes urceolate, petaloid or sepaloid. Stamens as many as and opposite to the perianth lobes. Filaments free or attached to the base of the perianth, anthers opening by longitudinal slits; disc glands alternating with the stamens. Ovary superior or partially inferior, 2 - 5 carpellary, syncarpous, 1-loculed; ovule 1, pendulous or erect; stigma small or expanded, sessile or on a short style. Fruit a single seeded drupe, often fleshy; seeds with small, narrow, cylindric embryo and thick endosperm.

Tropical Asia and Africa, rarely in tropical America; 9 genera and 60 species, 4 genera and 4 species in India.

Notes. Opiliaceae was established by Valeton in 1886. It was earlier treated as tribe Opilieae under Olacaceae by Masters (l.c.) and various other authors.

Literature. HIEPKO, P. (1979) A revision of Opitiaceae 1. Genera of the Eastern Old World excluding Opilia. Willdenowia 9: 13-56. HIEPKO, P. (1982). A revision of Opiliaceae 2. Opilia Roxb. Willdenowia 12(2): 161-182. KUMAR, A. (1988) The family Opiliaceae in Madhya Pradesh, India. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 12(2): 430. SLEUMER, H. (1935) Olacaceae Opiliaceae. In Engler & Prantl. Pflanzenfam. ed. 2. 16b: 5-41.


1a. Inflorescence a panicle; flowers unisexual or polygamous 2. Champereia
b. Inflorescence a raceme or a spike; flowers bisexual 2
2a. Perianth free; stigma sessile 4. Opilia
b. Perianth united into a tube; stigma on a short style 3
3a. Flowers sessile; filaments filiform; perianth persistent in fruit 1. Cansjera
b. Flowers pedicelled; filaments flattened; perianth non-persistent in fruit 3. Lepionurus

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