Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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Carol A. Hoffman

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, vine; sap milky
Leaves simple, generally opposite or whorled; stipules 0 or small
Inflorescence: cyme, terminal or axillary, umbel- or raceme-like, or flower solitary
Flower bisexual, radial; sepals 5, generally reflexed; petals 5, generally reflexed or spreading; stamens 5, fused to form filament column and anther head, generally with 5 elaborate appendages on outside of filament column, pollen removed in pairs of massive sacs; ovaries 2, superior, free, style tips generally fused into massive pistil head surrounded by anther head
Fruit: follicle (1 ovary generally aborts)
Seeds many, ± flat, with tuft of silky hairs
Genera in family: 50–250 genera, 2000–3000 species: especially tropical, subtropical South America, s Africa; ornamental (Asclepias, Hoya, Stapelia). Cardiac glycosides produced by some; used as arrow poisons, in medicine to control heart contraction, and by some insects for defense
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to be included within Apocynaceae


Perennial, shrub
Stem twining (elsewhere sometimes prostrate to erect)
Leaves opposite; blade often ± cordate
Inflorescence: flowers 1–2, axillary (elsewhere various)
Flower: corolla ± spreading, ring of tissue at base 0; filament-column appendages generally fused margin-to-margin into 5-lobed, cup- or plate-like structure around anther head, fused to base of filament column, each lobe with a vertical, flap-like ridge; pistil head flat
Fruit erect or pendent, fusiform to ± ovoid, smooth, generally tubercled
Species in genus: ± 200 species: tropical, warm temp Am
Reference: [Stevens 1976 Diss Abstr B 37(2):587]

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