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Family Francoaceae

Synonyms: Ledocarpaceae APNI*
Greyiaceae APNI*
Vivianiaceae APNI*
Melianthaceae APNI*

Description: Perennial and annual herbs, large shrubs, or trees.

Leaves alternate, opposite, or in wholrs, simple and lobed, pinnatifid, odd-pinnate or trifoliate, with an entire or serrate margin, petiolate or sessile, with leaf bases sometimes amplexicaul; stipules usually absent, but sometime present.

Inflorescences terminal or axillary, simple or compound racemes, cymes, or thyrses, sometimes reduced to one, two, or three flowers, sometimes subtended by prophylls or bracts. Flowers bisexual or functionally unisexual (Bersama), actinomorphic or zygomorphic and sometimes resupinate. Sepals 4–5, petaloid an dprominent or not, often basally fused and persistent in fruit. Petals 5 (sometimes 4 or absent), free, but with hairs along the edge that fuse together in Melianthus, smaller or larger than the sepals, often showy. Stamens in 1 or 2 whorls, as many or twice as many as petals (usually 10, sometimes 8, 5, or 4), typically 5 long and 5 short, sometimes with 1 missing in zygomorphic flowers; filaments sometimes fused basally and occasionally hairy, often with a pair of basal appendages; anthers dorsifixed or basifixed and open laterally by lengthwise slits. Ovary semi-inferior or superior, composed of 3–5 fused carpels, with as many locules; style 1 with 3–5 stigmatic branches or small stigmas.

Fruit a papery, unevenly opening capsule, or a leathery to woody septicidal or loculicidal capsule.

Distribution and occurrence: World: 9 genera, 31 species, Africa, South America. Australia: 2 species (naturalized), N.S.W., Vic., S.A.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Francoaceae, Order: Geraniales)

Text by H. Sauquet (Nov 2021), based on Christenhusz MJM, Fay MF, Chase MW. 2017. Plants of the World: An illustrated encyclopedia of vascular plants. University of Chicago Press.
Taxon concept: APG IV (2016)

One genus in NSW: Melianthus

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