Plant a shrub or tree; true roots +, origin endogeneous, root cap +, apex multicellular; endodermis +; shoot apical meristem multicellular; lateral meristems +, cork cambium producing cork abaxially, vascular cambium producing phloem abaxially and xylem adaxially; lamina with mean venation density 1.8 mm/mm2 (to 5 mm/mm2).
EXTANT SEED PLANTS/SPERMATOPHYTA
Plant woody, evergreen; nicotinic acid metabolised to trigonelline, (cyanogenesis via tyrosine pathway); primary cell walls rich in xyloglucans and/or glucomannans, 25-30% pectin [Type I walls]; lignins derived from (some) sinapyl and particularly coniferyl alcohols, thus containing p-hydroxyphenyl and guaiacyl lignin units [so no Maüle reaction]; root xylem exarch, cork cambium deep seated; arbuscular mycorrhizae +; shoot apical meristem interface specific plasmodesmatal network; stem with vascular tissue around central pith [eustele], vascular bundles with interfascicular tissue, ectophloic, endodermis 0, xylem endarch; wood homoxylous, tracheids and rays alone, tracheid/tracheid pits circular, bordered; mature sieve tube/cell lacking functioning nucleus, sieve tube plastids with starch grains; phloem fibres +; stem cork cambium superficial; branches exogenous; leaves with single trace from vascular sympodium ["nodes 1:1"]; vascular bundles collateral [stem: phloem external; leaf: phloem abaxial]; stomata morphology?, pore opening in response to leaf hydration active, control by abscisic acid, metabolic regulation of water use efficiency, etc.; leaves with petiole and lamina, spiral, development basipetal, blade simple; axillary buds +, not associated with all leaves; prophylls two, lateral; plant heterosporous, sporangia borne on sporophylls; microsporophylls aggregated in indeterminate cones/strobili; true pollen +, grains mono[ana]sulcate, exine and intine homogeneous; ovules unitegmic, parietal tissue 2+ cells across, megaspore tetrad tetrahedral, only one megaspore develops, megasporangium indehiscent; male gametophyte development first endo- then exosporic, tube developing from distal end of grain, to ca 2 mm from receptive surface to egg, gametes two, developing after pollination, with cell walls, flagellae numerous; ovules increasing considerably in size between pollination and fertilization, female gametophyte endosporic, initially syncytial, walls then surrounding individual nuclei; seeds "large" [ca 8 mm3], but not much bigger than ovule, with morphological dormancy; embryo cellular ab initio, endoscopic, plane of first cleavage of zygote transverse, suspensor +, short-minute, embryo straight, shoot and root at opposite ends [allorrhizic], white, cotyledons 2; plastid transmission maternal; ycf2 gene in inverted repeat, two copies of LEAFY gene, PHY gene duplications [three - [BP [A/N + C/O]] - copies], nrDNA with 5.8S and 5S rDNA in separate clusters; mitochondrial nad1 intron 2 and coxIIi3 intron and trans-spliced introns present.
Lignans, O-methyl flavonols, dihydroflavonols, triterpenoid oleanane, non-hydrolysable tannins, quercetin and/or kaempferol +, apigenin and/or luteolin scattered, [cyanogenesis in ANITA grade?], S [syringyl] lignin units common [positive Maüle reaction - syringyl:guaiacyl ratio more than 2-2.5:1], and hemicelluloses as xyloglucans; root apical meristem intermediate-open; root vascular tissue oligarch [di- to pentarch], lateral roots arise opposite or immediately to the side of [when diarch] xylem poles; origin of epidermis with no clear pattern [probably from inner layer of root cap], trichoblasts [differentiated root hair-forming cells] 0, exodermis +; shoot apex with tunica-corpus construction, tunica 2-layered; reaction wood ?, associated gelatinous fibres [g-fibres] with innermost layer of secondary cell wall rich in cellulose and poor in lignin; starch grains simple; primary cell wall mostly with pectic polysaccharides, poor in mannans; tracheid:tracheid [end wall] plates with scalariform pitting, wood parenchyma +; sieve tubes enucleate, sieve plate with pores (0.1-)0.5-10< µm across, cytoplasm with P-proteins, cytoplasm not occluding pores of sieve plate, companion cell and sieve tube from same mother cell; sugar transport in phloem passive; nodes unilacunar [1:?]; stomata brachyparacytic [ends of subsidiary cells level with ends of pore], outer stomatal ledges producing vestibule, reduction in stomatal conductance to increasing CO2 concentration; lamina formed from the primordial leaf apex, margins toothed, development of venation acropetal, secondary veins pinnate, overall growth ± diffuse, venation hierarchical, fine venation reticulate, veins (1.7-)4.1(-5.7) mm/mm2, endings free; most/all leaves with axillary buds; flowers perfect, pedicellate, ± haplomorphic, parts spiral [esp. the A], free, numbers unstable, development in general centripetal; P not sharply differentiated, with a single trace, outer members not enclosing the rest of the bud, often smaller than inner members; A many, filament not sharply distinguished from anther, stout, broad, with a single trace, anther introrse, tetrasporangiate, sporangia in two groups of two [dithecal], ± embedded in the filament, with at least outer secondary parietal cells dividing, each theca dehiscing longitudinally, endothecium +, endothecial cells elongated at right angles to long axis of anther; tapetum glandular, cells binucleate; microspore mother cells in a block, microsporogenesis successive, walls developing by centripetal furrowing; pollen subspherical, tectum continuous or microperforate, ektexine columellate, endexine thin, compact, lamellate only in the apertural regions; nectary 0; G superior, free, several, ascidiate, with postgenital occlusion by secretion, stylulus short, hollow, cavity not lined by distinct epidermal layer, stigma ± decurrent, carinal, dry [not secretory]; ovules few [?1]/carpel, marginal, anatropous, bitegmic, micropyle endostomal, outer integument 2-3 cells across, often largely subdermal in origin, inner integument 2-3 cells across, often dermal in origin, parietal tissue 1-3 cells across [crassinucellate], nucellar cap?; megasporocyte single, hypodermal, megaspore tetrad linear, functional megaspore chalazal, lacking sporopollenin and cuticle; female gametophyte four-celled [one module, nucleus of egg cell sister to one of the polar nuclei]; ovule not increasing in size between pollination and fertilization; pollen binucleate at dispersal, male gametophyte trinucleate, germinating in less than 3 hours, pollination siphonogamous, tube elongated, growing between cells, growth rate 20-20,000 µm/hour, outer wall pectic, inner wall callose, with callose plugs, penetration of ovules via micropyle [porogamous], whole process takes ca 18 hours, distance to first ovule 1.1-2.1 mm; male gametes lacking cell walls, flagellae 0, double fertilization +, ovules aborting unless fertilized; P deciduous in fruit; seed exotestal, becoming much larger than ovule at time of fertilization; endosperm diploid, cellular [micropylar and chalazal domains develop differently, first division oblique, micropylar end initially with a single large cell, divisions uniseriate, chalazal cell smaller, divisions in several planes], copious, oily and/or proteinaceous; embryogenesis cellular; germination hypogeal, seedlings/young plants sympodial; dark reversal Pfr -> Pr; Arabidopsis-type telomeres [(TTTAGGG)n]; 2C genome size 1-8.2 pg [1 pg = 109 base pairs], whole genome duplication, ndhB gene 21 codons enlarged at the 5' end, single copy of LEAFY and RPB2 gene, knox genes extensively duplicated [A1-A4], AP1/FUL gene, paleo AP3 and PI genes [paralogous B-class genes] +, with "DEAER" motif, SEP3/LOFSEP and three copies of the PHY gene, [PHYB [PHYA + PHYC]].
[NYMPHAEALES [AUSTROBAILEYALES [[CHLORANTHALES + MAGNOLIIDS] [MONOCOTS [CERATOPHYLLALES + EUDICOTS]]]]]: wood fibres +; axial parenchyma diffuse or diffuse-in-aggregates; pollen monosulcate [anasulcate], tectum reticulate-perforate [here?]; ?genome duplication; "DEAER" motif in AP3 and PI genes lost, gaps in these genes.
[AUSTROBAILEYALES [[CHLORANTHALES + MAGNOLIIDS] [MONOCOTS [CERATOPHYLLALES + EUDICOTS]]]]: vessel elements with scalariform perforation plates in primary xylem; essential oils in specialized cells [lamina and P ± pellucid-punctate]; tension wood +; tectum reticulate; anther wall with outer secondary parietal cell layer dividing; carpels plicate; nucellar cap + [character lost where in eudicots?]; 12BP [4 amino acids] deletion in P1 gene.
[[CHLORANTHALES + MAGNOLIIDS] [MONOCOTS [CERATOPHYLLALES + EUDICOTS]]] / MESANGIOSPERMAE: benzylisoquinoline alkaloids +; polyacetate derived anthraquinones + [?level]; outer epidermal walls of root elongation zone with cellulose fibrils oriented transverse to root axis; P more or less whorled, 3-merous [possible positiion]; embryo sac bipolar, 8 nucleate, antipodal cells persisting; endosperm triploid; ?germination.
[MONOCOTS [CERATOPHYLLALES + EUDICOTS]]: (extra-floral nectaries +); (veins in lamina often 7-17 mm/mm2 or more [mean for eudicots 8.0]); (stamens opposite [two whorls of] P); (pollen tube growth fast).
[CERATOPHYLLALES + EUDICOTS]: ethereal oils 0.
EUDICOTS: (Myricetin, delphinidin +), asarone 0 [unknown in some groups, + in some asterids]; root epidermis derived from root cap [?Buxaceae, etc.]; (vessels with simple perforation plates in primary xylem); nodes 3:3; stomata anomocytic; flowers (dimerous), cyclic; K/outer P members with three traces, ("C" +, with a single trace); A few, (polyandry widespread, initial primordia 5, 10, or ring, ± centrifugal), filaments fairly slender, anthers basifixed; microsporogenesis simultaneous, pollen tricolpate, apertures in pairs at six points of the young tetrad [Fischer's rule], cleavage centripetal, wall with endexine; G with complete postgenital fusion, stylulus/style solid [?here]; seed coat?
[[SABIALES + PROTEALES] [TROCHODENDRALES [BUXALES + CORE EUDICOTS]]]: plant woody; (axial/receptacular nectary +).
[TROCHODENDRALES [BUXALES + CORE EUDICOTS]]: benzylisoquinoline alkaloids 0; euAP3 + TM6 genes [duplication of paleoAP3 gene: B class], mitochondrial rps2 gene lost.
[BUXALES + CORE EUDICOTS]: ?
CORE EUDICOTS / GUNNERIDAE: (ellagic and gallic acids +); leaf margins serrate; compitum + [one place]; micropyle?; palaeohexaploidy [gamma triplication], PI-dB motif +, small deletion in the 18S ribosomal DNA common.
[ROSIDS ET AL. + ASTERIDS ET AL.] / PENTAPETALAE: root apical meristem closed; (cyanogenesis also via [iso]leucine, valine and phenylalanine pathways); flowers rather stereotyped: 5-merous, parts whorled; P = calyx + corolla, the calyx enclosing the flower in bud, sepals with three or more traces, petals with a single trace; stamens = 2x K/C, in two whorls developing internally/adaxially to the corolla whorl and successively alternating, (numerous, but then usually fasciculate and/or centrifugal); pollen tricolporate; G , G  also common, when [G 2], carpels superposed, compitum +, placentation axile, style +, stigma not decurrent; endosperm nuclear; fruit dry, dehiscent, loculicidal [when a capsule]; RNase-based gametophytic incompatibility system present; floral nectaries with CRABSCLAW expression.
[DILLENIALES [SAXIFRAGALES [VITALES + ROSIDS s. str.]]]: nodes 3:3; stipules + [usually apparently inserted on the stem].
[SAXIFRAGALES [VITALES + ROSIDS]] / ROSANAE Takhtajan / SUPERROSIDAE: ??
[VITALES + ROSIDS] / ROSIDAE: anthers articulated [± dorsifixed, transition to filament narrow, connective thin].
ROSIDS: (nectary receptacular); (mucilage cells with thickened inner periclinal walls and distinct cytoplasm); embryo long; genome duplication; chloroplast infA gene defunct, mitochondrial coxII.i3 intron 0.
ROSID II / MALVIDAE / [[GERANIALES + MYRTALES] [CROSSOSOMATALES [PICRAMNIALES [SAPINDALES [HUERTEALES [MALVALES + BRASSICALES]]]]]]: ?
[CROSSOSOMATALES [PICRAMNIALES [SAPINDALES [HUERTEALES [MALVALES + BRASSICALES]]]]]: ?
[PICRAMNIALES [SAPINDALES [HUERTEALES [MALVALES + BRASSICALES]]]]: ovules 2/carpel, apical.
Chemistry, Morphology, etc. The position of the character of ovule number on the tree is unclear. However, taxa with one or two usually apical ovules/carpel are common in the rosid II clade.
Phylogeny. See the Saxifragales pages for further discussion on the relationships of the malvids in general and of Picramniales in particular.
PICRAMNIALES Doweld Main Tree.
C18 acetylenic tariric acid, petroselenic acid [both in seed oils], anthraquinones, anthracenone moieties linked to C5-sugar derivatives; vessel elements with simple perforations; staminate flowers: stamens = and opposite petals; ?seed coat; ?endosperm, ?embryo. - 1 family, 3 genera, 49 species.
Synonymy: Picramniineae Shipunov
PICRAMNIACEAE Fernando & Quinn
Trees; bark bitter or very bitter; leaves spiral, odd-pinnate, leaflets often ± alternate, vernation conduplicate, extrafloral nectaries on abaxial surface, stipules 0; plant dioecious; inflorescence racemose; flowers 3-5(-6)-merous, small; K connate basally (free); staminate flowers: pollen?; nectary +; pistillode minute; carpellate flowers: staminodes +, ?nectariferous; G [2-3], styles branches recurved, pointed; ovule with ?bistomal micropyle; n = ?
1. Picramnia Swartz
Ovules epitropous; fruit a berry; seed coat ca 6 cells across, vascularized, unlignified, or two subepidermal layers lignified, inner layers crushed; embryo minute.
1/41. S.E. USA, Central and South America, Caribbean (map: from Pirani 1990). [Photo - Fruit]
2. Nothotalisia W. W. Thomas
Anatomy?; staminate flower: androgynophore +; A extrorse, connective prolonged; nectary 0; ?ovules; fruit a berry; seed coat, etc.?
1/3. Panama and NW South America (map below: green, from Thomas 2011).
3. Alvaradoa Liebmann
Vascular tracheids +; staminate flowers: C usu. 0; carpellate flowers: staminodes opposite sepals; only 1 G fertile; ovules apotropous, basal; fruit a samaroid capsule; exotesta resinous, endotegmen as a resinous membrane; endosperm 0, cotyledons large.
1/5. Florida, Central America, Bahama, esp. the Greater Antilles, Bolivia to Argentina (map: red, from Thomas 1990). [Photo - Fruit]
Evolution. Divergence & Distribution. Magallón and Castillo (2009: relaxed and constrained penalized likelihood datings) estimated ages of ca 107.9 and 108.4 m.y. for this clade, although it was placed as part of a basal polytomy in the malvids.
Chemistry, Morphology, etc. Practically all aspectes of the family are very poorly known, particularly the recently described Nothotalisia; I have seen only Picramnia in the field. The bitter taste in the bark is probably caused by the presence of sugar-linked anthracenone derivatives (Jacobs 2003). Indeed, Jacobs (2003) emphasizes the distinctive nature of such secondary metabolites, these anthracenone moieties linked to C5-sugar derivatives apparently being unknown in any other plants, and the C18 acetylenic acid, tariric acid, is also unknown from other flowering plants.
Xylem parenchyma is rather scanty to absent. fibre tracheids dominate, but Alvaradoideae commonly have vascular tracheids (Webber 1936). Picramnia may have unilacunar nodes with three or more traces; the hairs are unicellular and have distinctive golden contents (M. Ogburn, pers. comm.). The position of the staminodes of the female flowers of Alvaradoa should be confirmed.
For additional general information, see Fernando and Quinn (1995) and Kubitzki (2006b), for Nothotalisia, see Thomas (2011), and for chemistry, see Hegnauer (1973, 1990) and Stuhlfauth et al. (1985), both as Simaroubaceae, Bohlmann et al. (1973: acetylenes) and Villatoro et al. (1974: Alvaradoa). Rao (1970) briefly mentions the seed coat of Alvaradoa. Additional data are taken from seeds of Alvaradoa (Núñez et al. 83), Picramna sellowiana (Vásquez & Jaramillo 11419) and P. latifolia (Aguilar 5020).
Classification. Prior to version 10 of this site I had two subfamilies for the (then) two genera in Picramniaceae; although there are now three genera in the family, a suprageneric classification seems altogether too much.
Previous Relationships. Picramniaceae have usually been placed within Simaroubaceae (e.g. Cronquist 1981; Takhtajan 1997: the two generea then known were each in separate subfamilies) with which they agree in their bitter bark, compound leaves and small flowers.