The Oxalidaceae are herbs, shrubs, or rarely trees comprising 7 or 8 genera and about 800 species. The leaves are alternate and pinnately or palmately compound or rarely simple by suppression of leaflets; stipules are absent. The flowers are bisexual and actinomorphic. The perianth consists of a calyx of 5 distinct sepals and a corolla of 5 distinct or sometimes basally connate petals. The stamens are basally connate and obdiplostemonous, that is, of two series with the outer series opposite the petals; occasionally 5 stamens are reduced to staminodes. The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of 5 carpels, 5 distinct styles, and a superior ovary with 5 locules, each containing one or more axile ovules. The fruit is a loculicidal, sometimes explosively dehiscent capsule or berry.
Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.
||Averrhoa bilimbi, bilimbi. Note obdiplostemony and 5-merous perianth.|
|Averrhoa carambola, star fruit, five fingers. Tree from Malaysia with waxy, juicy, five-angled, fruits that are eaten raw or preserved. A five lobed ovary with five persistent styles are visible in the lower center of the lower left photo.|
||Oxalis corniculata, yellow wood sorrel. Note palmately compound leaves, 5-merous perianth, obdiplostemonous androecium, and 5 distinct styles.|
|Oxalis debilis, pink wood sorrel. A five-merous perianth and obdiplostemonous androecium are apparent.|
|Oxalis spiralis. Although the small, yellow-flowered O. corniculata is a very widespread weed, O. spiralis is a rather attractive ornamental species.|
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