The Malpighiaceae are trees and lianous shrubs comprising about 60 genera and 1,200 species that are further characterized by the presence of often reddish, medifixed or variously branched hairs. The leaves are simple, usually opposite, and frequently have paired glands on the petiole or base of the blade; stipules are usually present. The flowers are mostly bisexual and are actinomorphic or weakly zygomorphic. The perianth typically consists of two whorls with 5 distinct segments in each. One or more of the sepals usually have one or more conspicuous glands. The petals are usually clawed and the limb is typically fringed or toothed. The androecium consists of usually 10 distinct or basally connate stamens in two whorls but some or half of them are commonly reduced to staminodes. The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of almost always 3 carpels, 3 distinct styles, and a superior ovary with 3 locules, each containing a single pendulous, axile ovule. The fruit is variable.
Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.
||Galphimia gracilis. Note the 5-merous flowers with 10 stamens, and clawed petals.|
||Hiptage benghalensis, hiptage. The flower of this species is rather strongly zygomorphic. Note the fringed petals and the conspicuous gland on the calyx.|
|Malpighia coccigera, Singapore holly. Note the typical clawed and fringed petals and the 10 stamens in the androecium of the central flower, and at the very top left of the photo, the green glands on the sepals of the flower that lost its petals.|
|Malpighia punicifolia, acerola, Barbados cherry.|
|Malpighia sp. Note the conspicuous glands on the back of the sepals.|
|Malpighia sp. This photo clearly illustrates clawed and fringed petals and conspicuous green glands on the sepals. Closer inspection may reveal the 10 stamens with yellow anthers and at least two of the three greenish styles. In this case the pair of leaf glands are on the margin of the leaf blade near the petiole (lower photo).|
|Stigmaphyllon ciliatum. Note the 3 widely divergent styles and the fringed petals.|
||Stigmaphyllon floribundum, ornamental vine from ?Puerto Rico.|
||Tristellateia australasiae, ornamental liana from SE Asia to New Caledonia.|
|Are those malpighian hairs I see? Rumors like this give pigs a bad name.|
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