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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 3/7/2013)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 3/7/2013)
Family MELIACEAE
Contributor C. EARLE SMITH, JR.
Description Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, rarely otherwise, usually pinnately or pal- mately compound, occasionally simple, estipulate; leaflets generally entire, at times with pellucid lines or dots. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, usually paniculate. Flowers regular, perfect, rarely polygamodioecious, 4- to; 6-merous, but basically 5-merous; calyx and corolla either imbricate or valvate; petals free or rarely barely connate or adnate to the lower part of the staminal tube or gynophore; stamens usually twice as many as the petals, sometimes only as many as the petals, rarely more than twice as numerous, usually united partly or wholly into a tube; anthers 2-celled, longitudinally dehiscent; disk sometimes wanting, usually annular or cupular, free or adnate to the androecium or gynoecium; ovary of 2-6 united carpels, 2- to 12-celled; stigma discoid or capitate, simple or sulcate; ovules 2 or more in each cell, collateral or superposed, rarely solitary. Fruit capsular, septicidally or loculicidally dehiscent, sometimes drupaceous or baccate; seeds solitary to numerous in each cell, sometimes winged; endosperm carnose or none; embryo straight or transverse, the cotyledons fleshy or foliaceous; radicle superior or lateral.
Habit Trees or shrubs
Note A family of about 45 genera in the tropics and subtropics of both hemispheres. Among the trees are a number of species widely cut for lumber. In the American tropics the preferred sources of lumber are mahogany or caoba (Swietenia spp.) and Spanish cedar or cedro (Cedrela sppl.) in that order followed by the many other trees cut for lumber. Mahogany, cedro and the Asiatic china-berry (Melia Azed- erach L.) are widely planted as ornamentals while cedro has also been used as a coffee shade tree and has been widely planted for reforestation. The taxonomy of several of the American genera is in chaotic condition with many more species names in the literature than exist among the herbarium speci- mens. In order to arrive at the probably correct names for Panamanian species of Guarea and Trichilia, all of the Panamanian material of these and other Meliaceous genera from the Harvard University Herbaria, the U. S. National Herbarium, and the herbarium of the Missouri Botanical Garden were compared with the large col- lection of American Meliaceae at the Chicago Natural History Museum. Where types were available and the interpretation of the species was secure, reductions were made as indicated in the synonymic lists in this paper. In all cases, the oldest name to which the taxon could be confidently assigned was used, but later study may find these judgments in error. Loans of authentic specimens of Guarea glabra Vahl from the Botanical Museum of Copenhagen and of Trichilia tomentosa H. B. K. and T. Montana H. B. K. from the Laboratoire de Phanerogamie, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle of Paris are particularly appreciated.
Key a. Leaves 2- to 3-pinnate; fruit drupaceous, flowers purple- - 1. MELIA aa. Leaves once pinnate or, rarely, 1- to 3-pinnate 3-foliate; fruit capsular or sub- baccate; petals not purple. b. Filaments not connate; seeds winged- - . 2. CEDRELA bb. Filaments united for all or part of their length; seeds winged only in Sw ietenia. c. Seeds bearing a large wing; disk cupular, thin - - 3. SWIETENIA cc. Seeds not winged, arillate except in Carapa; disk annular or columnar. d. Capsule dehiscent from the base upward; seeds not arillate; disk annular, carnose. - . 4. CARAPA dd. Capsule dehiscent from the apex downward; seeds arillate; disk thin-annular, columnar or obsolete. e. Disk annular; anthers borne at the apex of the staminal tube. - --. -5. TRICHILIA ee. Disk columnar or obsolete; anthers included in the staminal tube - . 6. GUAREA
 
 
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