Zygophyllaceae R. Br., Flind. Voy. Bot. app. 3:545 (1814). Balanitaceae Endl. (1841).
  • M. C. Sheahan
Part of the The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants book series (FAMILIES GENERA, volume 9)


Trees, shrubs, subshrubs or annual or perennial herbs, often with jointed branches and swollen at the nodes; axillary or stipular thorns sometimes present. Leaves stipulate, opposite or less often alternate, bi-or trifoliolate or pinnately multifoliolate, rarely simple; usually petiolate, rarely with glandular dots, sometimes unequal; leaf(let)lamina entire, often asymmetric, flattened, fleshy or terete. Flowers solitary, paired or in few-flowered cymes, axillary or terminal, bisexual, actinomorphic or rarely slightly zygomorphic; sepals 4–6, ± free, rarely connate at base, usually imbricate, valvate in Seetzenia; petals free, often clawed, mostly as many as sepals, rarely 0; disc often present; stamens (5)8-12 as many as or twice the number of petals and then obdiplostemonous; filaments sometimes with basal scales or appendages; anthers introrse, dorsifixed, 4-sporangiate, with longitudinal dehiscence; ovary syncarpous, superior, sessile or shortly stipitate, angular, ribbed or winged, (2-)4-5(-12)-locular; style filiform or subulate; stigma capitate, clavate or slightly lobed or ridged; ovules 1 to many per locule, bitegmic, pendulous, usually with axile placentation. Fruit a loculicidal or septicidal capsule, or splitting into mericarps which may be winged, lobed or angled, spiny or tuberculate; rarely a 1-seeded drupe (Balanites). Seeds with or without endosperm; embryo straight or slightly curved.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. C. Sheahan
    • 1
  1. 1.Jodrell LaboratoryRoyal Botanic Gardens KewRichmond SRYUK

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