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Family Petiveriaceae

Description: Herbs to subshrubs or shrubs, or (not in Australia) lianas or trees, monoecious, dioecious or bisexual; stems sometimes with lenticels (Monococcus); hairs (when present) simple.

Leaves alternate, simple, petiolate, without stipules; margins entire; venation pinnate.

Inflorescence a terminal or axillary raceme or (not in Australia) panicle; bracteate. Flowers unisexual or bisexual, usually actinomorphic, pedicellate. Perianth in one whorl, petaloid, 4-merous, rarely (not in Australia) 5-merous. Stamens 4 to many; free; anthers 2-locular, dorsiflexed, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Staminodes present or absent in female flowers. Ovary superior; carpel solitary, with a single ovule.

Fruit a berry or achene, or (not in Australia) a samara or utricle, 1-seeded.

Distribution and occurrence: World: 9 genera, 22 species, mainly in the Americas, but also Australia, Vanuatu and New Caledonia (Monococcus). Australia: 2 genera (1 naturalised); 2 species, 1 naturalised Cocos Is., Qld., N.S.W. Norfolk Is., 1 native N.S.W. and Qld.

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

Previously included in Phytolaccaceae, but now recognised as a distinct family (see APG IV 2016).

Text by Page created by H. Sauquet (Nov 2020); edited K.L.Gibbons, 8 June 2023.
Taxon concept: APG IV (2016);G. Harden, Fl. NSW 1 (1993); H. Hewson, Flora of Australia Online [accessed 7 June 2023]; Kew Plants of the World Online [accessed 8 June 2023]; Christenhusz, Fay & Chase (2017) Plants of the World. Kew Publishing: Surrey

 Key to the genera 
1Perennial herbs, usually woody at the base; flowers mostly bisexual; stamens 4; fruit a berry, smooth, redRivina
Shrubs; flowers unisexual or bisexual; stamens 10–20; fruit burr-like, an achene covered with hooked bristles, green to brownMonococcus

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