Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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ASCLEPIADACEAE

MILKWEED FAMILY

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

SARCOSTEMMA

CLIMBING MILKWEED

Perennial, shrub
Stem twining (elsewhere sometimes prostrate to ± erect)
Leaves opposite; blade often linear to narrowly lanceolate or hastate
Inflorescence axillary, often umbel-like
Flower: corolla generally ± spreading to ± erect, with ring of tissue at base; filament-column appendages free, ± spheric, attached to base of filament column, projections hollow; pistil head ± conic, 2-lobed, or both
Fruit generally erect, narrowly fusiform to narrowly ovoid, with fine longitudinal grooves
Species in genus: ± 34 species: North America, Africa to Australia
Etymology: (Greek: fleshy crown, from sac-like filament-column appendages)
Reference: [Holm 1950 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 37:477–560]

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