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Thursday, 15 January 2009

FAMILY OF THE WEEK: SAPOTACEAE





Achras sapota

Mimuseps elengi

FAMILY OF THE WEEK: SAPOTACEAE

In India there are 10 genera and 52 species occurring mostly in North Eastern and Southern India.

Vegetative characters:

They are trees or shrubs with young parts often rusty tomentose. The plants contain a milky juice. The leaves are alternate or rarely subopposite, simple, entire,petioled and coriacious and leathery. The stipules are usually absent.

Inflorescence and flowers:

The flowers are solitary or in cymose clusters in the leaf axils. They are bisexual, actinomorphic and hypogynous. The calyx has four to eight sepals which are united at the base. They are arranged in two or one series. The corolla is gamopetalous but the corolla tube is shorter than the calyx tube. The corolla lobes are usually as many as the calyx lobes and alternate with them and sometimes twice as many as the calyx lobes. The petal lobes are imbricate in bud.

The stamens are inserted upon the corolla tube. They are usually as many as the corolla lobes and opposite to the corolla lobes. Sometimes the stamens are two to three times as many as the corolla lobes and then they are two or three seriate. The outer stamens are sometimes reduced to staminodes as in Mimusops. The filaments are usually short. The anthers are oblong lanceolate, dithecous and extrorse. The connective is often produced beyond the anthers. The gynoecium has two to eight syncarpous carpels. The ovary is superior with as many locules as the number of carpels. The style is one, often apically lobed.

Fruits and seeds:

The fruit is one to eight seeded berry. Latex sacs are also present in the inner pulp of the berry. The seeds are often compressed with a crustaceous testa. The embryo is straight.

Pollination and dispersal:

Pollination is by insects. Fruits are distributed by birds and animals and water currents.

Examples:

Achrus sapota (Sapodilla plum)

Manilkara hexandra

Madhuca indica

Mimuseps elengi (Bakul)

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