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Family Aizoaceae

Description: Annual or perennial, frequently succulent or semisucculent herbs or shrubs.

Leaves opposite, alternate, or whorled.

Flowers usually actinomorphic, bisexual and solitary or borne in cymose inflorescences. Perianth 1- or 2-whorled, 4- or 5-lobed, sometimes the lobes almost free. Stames 4-numerous but frequently with numerous petaloid staminodes. Ovary superior, inferior or half-inferior, 1–many-locular, each loculus with 1–many ovules.

Fruit capsular, dry and indehiscent or an inferior berry; seeds 1–many.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 140 genera, 2300 species, mainly Africa, but also America and Australia. Australia: 18 or 19 genera, c. 60 species (18 species naturalized), all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Aizoaceae, Order: Caryophyllales)
Wikipedia

Reference: Prescott and Venning (1984)

The four subfamilies are sometimes treated as separate families.

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs and J. Highet
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Drosanthemum,    Malephora

 Key to the genera 
1Perianth deeply 5-lobed (subfamily MOLLUGINOIDEAE)2
Perianth tubular5
2Leaves alternate or radical3
At least some leaves opposite or in whorls or pseudowhorls
                       Back to 1
4
3Ovary 5-locular; styles 5Galenia
Ovary 3-locular; styles 3
                       Back to 2
Macarthuria
4Seeds without a caruncle; stamens 3–5Mollugo
Seeds with a caruncle; stamens 3–20
                       Back to 2
Glinus
5Ovary superior (subfamily AIZOOIDEAE)6
Ovary inferior or half-inferior
                       Back to 1
10
6Styles 1 or 2; ovary 1- or 2-locular7
Styles 3 or more; ovary with 3 or more loculi
                       Back to 5
8
7Style 1; ovary 1-locular; capsule circumsciss, the operculum not dehiscentTrianthema
Styles 2; ovary 2-locular; capsule circumsciss with the operculum longitudinally dehiscent
                       Back to 6
Zaleya
8Stamens 4–12, in 4 groupsGunniopsis
Stamens more than 12
                       Back to 6
9
9Stamens c. 20, uniformly distributedSesuvium
Stamens numerous, either in 4 bundles or in 2 or 3 whorls
                       Back to 8
Gunniopsis
10Each loculus with a single ovule; petaloid staminodes absent (subfamily TETRAGONOIDEAE)Tetragonia
Each loculus with numerous ovules, petaloid staminodes usually present (subfamily MESEMBRYANTHEMOIDEAE)
                       Back to 5
11
11Plants annual or biennial12
Plants perennial
                       Back to 10
14
12Leaves glabrous; plants prostrateDisphyma
Leaves with vesicular hairs; plants erect or almost erect
                       Back to 11
13
13Placentation axile; leaves alternate on flowering branches; stamens many; staminodes whiteMesembryanthemum
Placentation parietal; leaves all opposite; stamens 5–10; staminodes yellow
                       Back to 12
Micropterum
14Perianth segments 4; leaves ovate, often cordate at baseAptenia
Perianth segments 5; leaves linear, terete or angled
                       Back to 11
15
15Leaves soon falling, with only leaf bases persistent; placentation axilePsilocaulon
Leaves persistent; placentation parietal or basal
                       Back to 14
16
16Perianth segments 5, more or less equal and equidistant; fruit capsular, opening when wet17
Perianth segments 5, with 2 more or less opposite and commonly larger than the others; fruit fleshy, indehiscent
                       Back to 15
18
17Leaves more or less rounded in cross section; flowering branches with very short internodes but often with long pedicelsDisphyma
Leaves more or less triquetrous, at least the dorsal angle evident; flowering branches with conspicuous internodes
                       Back to 16
Lampranthus
18Styles 6 or more; stems elongated and creepingCarpobrotus
Styles 4 or 5; stems not much elongated, decumbent or ascending
                       Back to 16
Sarcozona

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