Flora of China
  FOC Vol.11 (2008)              | Family List  Polygalaceae  PDF     | Link Font:+ Big | - Small
   17. Polygalaceae  R. Brown
远志科   yuan zhi ke
Authors:Chen Shukun (陈书坤), Ma Haiying (马海英); John A. N. Parnell


Perennial or annual herbs or shrubs or trees, rarely small herbs (the latter sometimes saprophytic). Leaves simple, alternate, opposite, or whorled, petiolate or sessile, papery or leathery, with pinnate veins, margin entire, leaves rarely reduced and scalelike; stipules absent, sometimes spiniform or scalelike appendages present. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, white, yellow, or purple-red, pedicellate or sessile, in axillary or terminal racemes, panicles, or spikes, with bracts and usually also with bracteoles. Calyx persistent or caducous; sepals 5, free or connate at base, outer 3 small, inner 2 (alae) large, petal-like, or all 5 nearly equal. Petals 3 or 5, basally often connate, lower (median) one ("keel") usually inflexed, carinate, sometimes with fimbriate or lamellate or papilionaceous apical appendages. Stamens 8, 7, 5, or 4; filaments free, or variously united and forming a sheath open on upper side and troughlike; anthers basifixed, usually dehiscing by a single apical pore. Disk usually absent, if present annular or glandular. Ovary superior, 1- or 2-loculed; ovule 1 per locule, anatropous, pendulous, rarely ovules numerous and placentas parietal; style 1, erect or curved; stigmas 1 or 2, capitate. Fruit a 2-loculed capsule, dehiscing by valves, or a 1-loculed samara or a berrylike drupe, dehiscing or not. Seeds 2, or 1 with 1 sterile locule, yellow-brown, dark castaneous, or black, ovoid, globose, or ellipsoidal, glabrous or piliferous, strophiolate or not, with or without endosperm, sometimes with an appendage at end opposite to strophiole.

Thirteen to 17 genera and about 1000 species: widespread worldwide, especially in tropical and subtropical regions of both hemispheres; five genera and 53 species (24 endemic) in China.

Chinese genera of economic importance include Polygala (medicinal), Salomonia (medicinal), Securidaca (medicinal), and Xanthophyllum (fine wood).

Chen Shukun. 1997. Polygalaceae. In: Chen Shukun, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 43(3): 132-203.

1Trees or erect shrubs; petals 5; stamens 8, free, or 2-5 adnate at base of ovary or petals; fruit globose.1  Xanthophyllum    黄叶树属
+Erect herbs, scandent shrubs, or trees; petals 3 (but often with 2 enlarged petal-like sepals); stamens 4-8, filaments connate; fruit flattened(2)
2(1)Stamens 4 or 5; fruit a capsule(3)
+Stamens 8, rarely 6 or 7; fruit a samara or capsule without a dentate margin(4)
3(2)Saprophytes lacking chlorophyll; leaves yellow-brown, scalelike, shorter than 3 mm; capsule indehiscent, without a dentate margin.5  Epirixanthes    寄生鳞叶草属
+Plants autotrophic, green; leaves green, largest leaf at least 4 mm; capsule dehiscent, with a dentate margin.4  Salomonia    齿果草属
4(2)Scandent shrubs; fruit winged, 1-seeded.2  Securidaca    蝉翼藤属
+Erect shrubs, small trees, or herbs, rarely scandent shrubs (Polygala tricholopha); fruit not winged, 2-seeded.3  Polygala    远志属
   Lower Taxon
  • Epirixanthes  Blume  寄生鳞叶草属
  • Polygala  Linnaeus  远志属
  • Salomonia  Loureiro  齿果草属
  • Securidaca  Linnaeus  蝉翼藤属
  • Xanthophyllum  Roxburgh  黄叶树属