Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

ARACEAE

ARUM FAMILY

Elizabeth McClintock

In CA perennial herb, terrestrial or aquatic, from short, generally erect caudex, often monoecious; elsewhere shrub, vine, or growing on other plant
Stems sometimes above ground in addition to caudex
Leaves simple or compound, basal (or cauline and 2-ranked)
Inflorescence: generally spike, fleshy, generally ill-smelling; flowers generally many, bisexual or pistillate below, staminate above; bract subtending spike 1, generally showy (petal-like), generally > spike, sometimes sheathing
Flower: perianth parts 4 or 6, free or fused; stamens generally 0, 4, or 6, free or fused; ovary superior to half-inferior and sunken in inflorescence axis, chambers 1–3, stigma ± sessile
Fruit: berry
Seeds 1–many
Genera in family: ± 110 genera, 1800 species: generally tropical, subtropical. Some cultivated for food (Colocasia , taro) or ornamental (Philodendron, Anthurium )
Reference: [Wilson 1960 J Arnold Arbor 41:47–63]
Needle-like crystals in most tissues cause intense irritation when chewed; those of Dieffenbachia, dumb-cane, may induce temporary speechlessness.

ACORUS

Perennial, terrestrial or near edge of water
Leaves 2-ranked; blade folded along midrib, linear to sword-shaped, sheathing, sessile
Inflorescence erect to curved; peduncle leaf-like, fused to bract; bract erect, leaf-like, narrow, green, sessile
Flower bisexual; perianth parts 6, greenish; stamens 6; ovary superior, chambers 2–3
Species in genus: 2–6 species: generally n temp
Etymology: (Latin: aromatic plant)
Reference: [Grayum 1987 Taxon 36:723–729]
Sometimes placed in Acoraceae, because needle-like crystals 0, leaf terminal, leaves and inflorescence bract sessile.

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