Theaceae

The Theaceae are trees or shrubs comprising about 40 genera and 600 species. The leaves are alternate, simple, and estipulate. The flowers are actinomorphic and are bisexual or rarely unisexual. The perianth consists of distinct or basally connate segments differentiated into usually 5 imbricate sepals and 5 petals. The androecium consists of numerous stamens that are distinct or basally monadelphous, or in 5 fascicles that are opposite and adnate to the petals. The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of 3-5 carpels, an equal number of styles, style-branches, or stigmas, and a superior ovary with 3-5 locules containing 2-many axile ovules. The fruit is usually a loculicidal capsule.

Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.


Camellia japonica. This is a good example of a showy cultivar but it does not reveal the normal floral features.
Camellia sinensis, tea. This example shows the numerous stamens typical for the family.  Also visible is the tricarpellate fruit.
Camellia sp. In this photo the perianth has been removed so the numerous stamens are more evident. Close inspection will reveal the pistil in the center of the cluster of stamens. Four or five style branches are also visible.
Camellia sp.
eur_san_mids.jpg (11784 bytes)
Eurya sandwicensis, 'anini, wanini, The leathery leaves of this Hawaiian endemic species are typical for the family. However, its flowers are unusual in being unisexual. The lower photo is a longitudinal section through a female flower showing staminodes and a well developed pistil with distinct styles.

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