Note presence and type of: Latex; Spines; Odors; Stipules; Leaves in 2 ranks; Marginal Teeth




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SUMMMARY OF MAJOR TROPICAL PLANT FAMILIES, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO COSTA RICAN PLANTS 01/2004

Note presence and type of: Latex; Spines; Odors; Stipules; Leaves in 2 ranks; Marginal Teeth


Life form

Family

Common name

Latex

Sp

Odors

St

2-r

T

Genera

Comments

Comp Opp
































Tree,liana

Bignoniaceae

jicaro, corteza



















Tabebuia, Crescentia, Adenocalymna, Amphitecna, Tecoma

major liana family, some trees; some have simple leaves

Tree

Cunoniaceae













x




x

Weinmannia

winged rachis, serrate marg, cloud forest tree

Tree

Hippocastanac

horsechestnut



















Billia (only tropical genus)

trifoliate lvs., lg nut with starchy endosperm

Comp Alt
































Tree

Anacardiac

mango, cashew

white dries blk




turp










Anacardium, Spondias, Tapirira, Mangifera

some species have simple leaves, sap often irritating (mango, cashew, poison ivy)

Tree,epi,liana

Araliaceae

ivy, ginseng







carrot










Oreopanax, Dendropanax, Didymopanax, Schefflera

one genus (Dendropanax) w/simple lvs; lg triangular lf scars; unequal petiole lengths; double pulvinus; inflorescence an umbel

Tree

Arecaceae

palms




x













Bactris, Cocos, Attelea, Geonoma, Acrocomia

monocots; unbranched, colonial or arborescent, meristem often edible (palmito)

Tree

Bombacaceae

balsa, silk cotton




x













Ceiba, Pseudobombax, Pochota, Ochroma

order Malvales, bat pollinated, wind dispersed; pochote common living fencepost

Tree

Burseraceae

indio desnudo

white dries white




turp










Bursera

peeling, photosynthesizing bark; living fencepost

Tree,liana

Caesalpiniace

legumes



















Cassia, Bauhinia, Hymenaea

monkey ladder vine, cloven hoof shaped lvs

Herb,epi,liana

Cyclanthaceae

cyclanth



















Cyclanthus, Asplundias

monocots, use leaf venation to distinguish from palms

Tree

Fabaceae

legumes (Papil.)







beans










Gliricidia, Lonchocarpus, Andira

simply pinnate

Tree

Mimosaceae

legumes, mimosa



















Inga, Pithecellobium, Enterolobium

nectaries, many bi or tripinnate

Tree

Meliaceae

mahogany







garlic; sweet










Cedrela, Guarea, Trichilia

not consistently even/odd pinnate; Guarea has unfolding leaflet at tip of leaf

Life form

Family

Common name

Latex

Sp

Odors

St

2-r

T

Genera

Comments

Tree,epi,liana

Rutaceae

citrus




x

citrus










Zanthoxylum, Citrus, Casimiroa

Zanthoxylum-volcanic spines on trunk, translucent oil glands in lvs, greasy to touch

Tree,liana

Sapindaceae

soapberry



















Cupania, Paullinia, Serjania

Cupania has alternate leaflets; lianas--Paullinia, Serjania--have opposite leaflets

Tree

Simaroubac










incense










Simarouba, Picramnia

bitter taste

Simp Opp
































Herb

Acanthaceae






















Justicia, Aphelandra

no stipules, swollen nodes, bilabiate flowers

Tree,epi,liana

Apocynaceae

dogbane

white
















Plumeria, Tabernaemontana

paired fruit look like Dutch shoes

Herb,tree

Asteraceae

sunflower, daisy



















Montanoa, Vernonia

rough lvs, opp or alt, smelly, daisy type flowers

Shrub,tree

Chloranthac










primitive

x




x

Hedyosmum

opposite, dentate lvs, enlarged sheath between petioles; very primitive family, fossils from mid-Cretaceous

Epi,liana

Clusiaceae

clusia

yellow, orange
















Clusia, Symphonia, Garcinia, Vismia

terminal bud arises from b/w bases of terminal pr of petioles, Clusia--thick,paddle-shaped lvs, used for sending written messages

Epi,liana

Gesneriaceae

African violets



















Columnea, Drymonia

lvs sometimes opp and unequal; flowers tubular, sometimes hairy

Tree

Malpighiaceae













x







Malpighia, Bunchosia

T-shaped hairs

Tree

Melastomatac

lengua de vaca



















Miconia, Conostegia, Melastoma

3-7 veined, tertiary veins nicely parallel

Tree

Monimiaceae










lemon










Siparuna

no stipules, dehiscent fruits

Tree

Myrtaceae

eucalyptus, guava







spicy apple




x




Eugenia, Psidium, Eucalyptus

pellucid dots (lens), medicinal smells, often with flaky bark

Shrub

Phytolaccac

pokeberry



















Phytolacca

succulent plant, small purple fruits

Shrub,tree,

Liana


Rubiaceae

coffee










x







Coffea, Psychotria, Hamelia, Posoqueria, Randia, Calycophyllum

leaves entire, opposite and decussate; shape of stipules identifies genus

Herb,tree

Verbenaceae

verbena



















Citharexylum, Lantana, Stachytarpheta, Gmelina

square stems, paired glands at leaf base

Life form

Family

Common name

Latex

Sp

Odors

St

2-r

T

Genera

Comments

Simp Alt
































Tree

Actinidaceae

kiwifruit
















x

Saurauia

rough, pubescent lvs, drops white corolla, high elev

Tree

Annonaceae

guanabana







primitive




x




Annona, Anaxagorea

strong bark, lvs never serrate, long thin lvs

Epi,liana

Araceae

houseplants



















Philodendron, Monstera, Dieffenbachia

monocot; large succulent lvs, spadix inflorescence, sheathing petioles

Tree

Betulaceae

alder













x

x

Alnus

high elevation on disturbed soil

Tree

Boraginaceae

borage



















Cordia, Ehretia

asperous lvs, ant domatia

Epi,shrub

Bromeliaceae

pineapple



















Bromelia, Vriesea, Tillandsia, Guzmania

monocot; rosette form, coriaceous leaves, bat pollinated

Epi,shrub

Cactaceae

cactus




x













Cereus, Opuntia, Epiphyllum

succulent, leafless, spiny plants; spines arise from felty pads called aureoles, fleshy fruits

Shrb,tree

Capparidaceae

capers




x













Capparis, Forchhammeria

flexed pulvinus, unequal petiole lengths, simple or compound lvs, many with tan lepidote scales, seeds like commas

Tree

Cecropiaceae

cecropia



















Cecropia, Pourouma

lobed leaves, Azteca ant symbionts, hollow stems, food bodies at base of petiole, sometimes placed in Urticaceae

Tree

Combretaceae






















Terminalia, Conocarpus

lvs clustered near ends of twigs

Herb

Commelinac

commelina, tradescantia, wandering jew



















Commelina, Tradescantia

monocot; closed cylindrical sheathing petiole base, jointed stem, involute vernation, flowers w/ small, delicate blue/pink petals with bract

Herb

Costaceae

costus



















Costus

monocot; lvs ascend in 1-sided spiral, showy infloresc, closed leaf sheath like Commelinaceae

Liana

Cucurbitaceae

cucumber, gourd
















x

Gurania, Cucurbita

vines w/strongly coiling tendrils at rght angles to leaf axil, palmate venation, lobed leaves

Herb

Cyperaceae

sedges
















x

Cyperus, Fimbristylis

monocot; triangular stem, linear lvs, some w/teeth

Tree

Ebenaceae

ebony



















Diospyros

coriaceous lvs, wood with black inner bark, fruit like persimmon, some w/ grooved trunk, lg dark glands on lower lf surface

Life form

Family

Common name

Latex

Sp

Odors

St

2-r

T

Genera

Comments

Tree

Elaeocarpac



















x

Sloanea, Muntingia

order Malvales, flexed pulvinus

Epi,liana

Ericaceae

blueberry, heath



















Cavendishia

small, leathery, roundish lvs, common epiphyte at mid-high elevation

Tree

Euphorbiaceae

poinsettia, yuca

white

x










x

Sapium, Croton, Hieronyma

order Malvales, some with glands at base of lf; some with 3-5 veins; some with latex; some w/stellate hairs

Tree

Fagaceae

oaks



















Quercus

acorns, leathery lvs, high elev genus in tropics

Tree

Flacourtiaceae







x




x

x

x

Casearia, Hasseltia, Xylosma

always simple, sml teeth, branches perp to stem, single plane

Herb

Heliconiaceae

heliconias



















Heliconia

monocots; long banana-like leaves

Tree


Lauraceae

avocado







primitive










Nectandra, Ocotea, Beilshmiedia, Persea

kinked petiole, oily fruit w/ red cupule and single lg seed, no latex, always entire margin, stipules always absent; some genera with opposite leaves; fruit eaten by quetzals

Tree

Magnoliaceae

magnolia







primitive

x







Magnolia

high elevation, large leaves

Herb,shrb,

Tree


Malvaceae

hibiscus
















x

Hampea, Malvaviscus, Hibiscus

order Malvales, strong bark, 3-4 veined lvs, showy flowers with fuzzy stigma

Herb

Marantaceae

prayer-plant, rattlesnake plant



















Calathea

monocot; jointed petiole, loud noise when ripped, ripping exposes hairs; ant dispersed

Epi,liana

Marcgravac

marcgravia













x




Marcgravia, Noratea

bat pollinated, looks like simp alt clusia

Tree

Moraceae

fig

white, cafe con leche







x




x

Ficus, Brosimum, Trophis, Perebea, Sorocea, Pseudolmedia

conical terminal stipule, thickish twigs

Treelike Herb

Musaceae

bananas

clear sap
















Musa

monocot; cultivated bananas and plantains

Tree

Myristicaceae

nutmeg







primitive







x

Virola

fruit with plush red interior

Tree

Myrsinaceae
















x




Ardisia, Myrsine

black punctations on leaves, pale underside

Shrub

Nyctaginaceae

bougainvillea




x













Neea, Pisonia, Bougainvillea, Boerhavia

ferrugin pubescence on terminal bud, lvs dry black, smaller lf paired with larger lf

Epi,liana

Orchidaceae

orchids



















Epidendrum, Pleurothallis, Oerstedella, Cattleya

monocot; succulent lvs, pseudobulbs, roots covered with thick white velamen

Life form

Family

Common name

Latex

Sp

Odors

St

2-r

T

Genera

Comments

Shrub

Papaveraceae

poppy, opium

orange













x

Bocconia

paniculate inflorescence; weedy shrub at high elev

Epi,liana

Passifloraceae

passionfruit



















Passiflora

showy flowers, fleshy fruit, some with odd shaped leaves, host to Heliconia butterflies

Epi/liana,shrb

Piperaceae

black pepper







pepper




x




Piper, Pothomorphe, Peperomia

erect white inflorescence, arcuate venation, uneq lf bases, swollen nodes, strong smells

Herb

Poaceae

grass













x




Cynodon, Panicum

monocot; linear leaves in 2-ranks

Tree

Rhizophorac

mangroves



















Rhizophora

mangrove family

Shrub,tree

Rosaceae

rose, blackberry



















Prunus, Rubus

Prunus--smells of cyanide (almonds)

Tree

Sapotaceae

chicle

white
















Pouteria, Sideroxylon, Manilkara

seeds with characteristic single scar

Vine

Smilacaceae

smilax




x













Smilax

monocot; broad, leathery 3-veined leaves, infl. spadix, fleshy fruits, climbs with spines on wiry stem

Shrub,tree

Solanaceae

tomato




x

tomato










Solanum, Acnistus, Markea, Capsicum, Witheringia, Cestrum

often with beige pubescence, small lvs near tips of twigs, strong smells

Tree

Sterculiaceae

cacao













x

x

Sterculia, Theobroma, Guazuma

order Malvales, flexed pulvinus

Tree

Tiliaceae

basswood, linden













x

x

Heliocarpus, Apeiba, Mortoniodendron, Luehea, Goethalsia

order Malvales, assymmetrical lvs

Tree

Ulmaceae

elm













x

x

Trema

asperous, assymmetrical lvs, weedy tree

Tree, shrub

Urticaceae

nettle




x










x

Urera

urticating lvs, fruits, flowers; lvs 3-veined; wind pollinated, fleshy fruits, tree stems may be spiky

Tree

Winteraceae










winter-green










Drimys

white underside of leaf, living fencepost, primitive family lacks vessels in wood

Herb

Zingiberaceae

ginger













x




Renealmia

monocot; open leaf sheath, distichous lvs, ginger odor


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