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Mac H. Alford
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taxon links [down<--]Malpighiales Interpreting the tree
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Containing group: Malpighiales


Lacistemataceae are a small neotropical family consisting of two genera and 14 species. The family is characterized by catkin-like cylindrical spikes or spiciform racemes, minute apetalous flowers with a single stamen (usually with an expanded connective), and parietal placentation.

Traditionally, the family has been allied with Salicaceae or Flacourtiaceae. Lacistemataceae were treated as tribe Lacistemeae in Sleumer's (1980) monograph of all neotropical Flacourtiaceae, a family now split mostly among Achariaceae, Salicaceae, and Samydaceae.


Shrubs or small trees. Leaves alternate, stipulate, blades pinnately veined, margins entire to denticulate or serrate. Inflorescences axillary spiciform racemes or catkin-like cylindrical spikes. Flowers minute, bisexual (or polygamous), each flower subtended by a bract. Sepals one to six. Petals lacking. Disk present. Stamen one, attached to the inner surface of disk, anther dehiscence introrse. Gynoecium of one pistil, ovary superior, unilocular, placentation parietal, ovules anatropous, style short or long, stigmas (two or) three. Fruit berry-like, but eventually dehiscent by three loculicidal valves. Seeds one or few, arillate, embryo straight, cotyledons foliaceous.


Chase, M. W., S. Zmarzty, M. D. Lledó, K. J. Wurdack, S. M. Swensen, and M. F. Fay. 2002. When in doubt, put it in Flacourtiaceae: a molecular phylogenetic analysis based on plastid rbcL DNA sequences. Kew Bulletin 57: 141-181.

Chirtoiü, M. 1918. Observations sur les Lacistema et la situation systématique de ce genre. Bull. Soc. Bot. Genève, sér. 2, 10: 317-349.

Sleumer, H. O. 1980. Flacourtiaceae. Flora Neotropica No. 22. Bronx: New York Botanical Garden.

Information on the Internet

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Lacistema aggregatum
Location Costa Rica: Guanacaste: 25 km NE of Liberia
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By Mac H. Alford
Collection BH
Collector Mac H. Alford
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0.
Copyright © 2002 Mac H. Alford
Scientific Name Lacistema aggregatum
Location Panama: Barro Colorado Island
Creator Steven Paton
Copyright © 2006
About This Page

Mac H. Alford
University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Mac H. Alford at

All Rights Reserved.

Citing this page:

Alford, Mac H. 2005. Lacistemataceae. Version 01 February 2005 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Lacistemataceae/21145/2005.02.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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This page is a Tree of Life Branch Page.

Each ToL branch page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a branch of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a branch and a leaf of the Tree of Life is that each branch can be further subdivided into descendent branches, that is, subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

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