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Family DIOSCOREACEAE

Synonyms: Stenomeridaceae APNI*

Description: Herbs or rarely shrubs, mostly with stems arising from an underground tuber.

Leaves alternate [or opposite], usually simple [or rarely palmately compound]; lamina with 3–7 longitudinal veins and reticulate secondary venation; stipules absent.

Inflorescence of axillary spikes or racemes, sometimes forming terminal panicles. Flowers actinomorphic, 3-merous, [bisexual] or more often unisexual and then plants dioecious. Tepals 6, in 2 whorls. Stamens usually 6; filaments free; anthers 2-locular, introrse or extrorse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary inferior, 3-locular; ovules usually 2 per loculus; stigmas 3.

Fruit usually a 3-lobed capsule [rarely a berry or samara]; seeds 1 or 2 per loculus, usually winged.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 6 gen., 750 spp., trop. to warm-temp. regions. Aust.: 1 gen., 5 spp., Qld, N.S.W., N.T., W.A.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Dioscoreaceae, Order: Dioscoreales)
Wikipedia

Circumscription of families in the Dioscoreales has been challenged by the presence of saprophytic species lacking chlorophyll. Recent nuclear data supports the acceptance of Dioscoreaceae. In this respect the PlantNet circumscriptions differ from APG IV.

Text by G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

One genus in NSW: Dioscorea

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