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Diospyros L.

Sp.Pl. 2:1057 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Family Ebenaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Trees, or shrubs (or rarely ‘subshrubs’). Mesophytic. Leaves alternate; spiral; leathery (or chartaceous); petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Leaf blades entire; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Stem anatomy. Nodes unilacunar, or tri-lacunar. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male, or functionally female. Unisexual flowers present. Plants dioecious. Female flowers with staminodes, or without staminodes. Male flowers with pistillodes (rudimentary ovary well developed), or without pistillodes.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; when aggregated, in cymes, or in fascicles. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences axillary. Flowers bracteolate; small; regular; 3–8 merous; cyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 6–16; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx 3–8; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; 3–8 lobed, or entire (and cupuliform); blunt-lobed; imbricate, or valvate; regular; persistent; often accrescent. Corolla 3–8; 1 -whorled; gamopetalous; 3–8 lobed; lobes imbricate and contorted; regular; white, or cream, or yellow. Fertile stamens present, or absent (in female flowers). Androecium 2–100 (or more). Androecial members branched, or unbranched; free of the perianth, or adnate (epipetalous); free of one another, or coherent (in pairs or groups). Stamens 2–100 (or more); becoming exserted, or remaining included; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth to polystemonous; oppositisepalous. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (in male flowers). Gynoecium 3–8 carpelled. The pistil 3–16 celled (each carpel completely or incompletely partitioned by a ‘false septum’). Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 3–16 locular. Locules partially or completely secondarily divided by ‘false septa’. Styles 3–8; free, or partially joined; apical. Stigmas 3–8 (usually dilated and fleshy); 1–2 - lobed; dry type; non-papillate; Group II type. Placentation apical. Ovules 2 per locule (the false septa more or less separating the members of each pair); pendulous; apotropous; with dorsal raphe; non-arillate; anatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a berry; 1–16 seeded (i.e. to ‘several’). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm ruminate, or not ruminate; oily. Seeds large. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight, or curved.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Native of Australia. Not endemic to Australia. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland. Northern Botanical Province.

H.R. Coleman, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, J. R.; Rye, B. L.; Koch, B. L.; Wilson, A. J. G.; Western Australian Herbarium 1992. Flora of the Kimberley region. Western Australian Herbarium.. Como, W.A..