Magnoliaceae

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Subfamily Magnolioideae

Subfamily Liriodendroidae

The Magnoliaceae, or Magnolia Family, is a flowering plant family in the order Magnoliales. It consists of two subfamilies:

  • Magnolioideae, of which Magnolia is the most well-known genus.
  • Liriodendroidae, a monogeneric subfamily, of which Liriodendron (Tulip trees) is the only genus.

Unlike most angiosperms, whose flower parts are in rings, the Magnoliaceae have their stamens and pistils in spirals on a conical receptacle.[1] This arrangement is found in some fossil plants and is believed to be a basal or early condition for angiosperms. The flowers also have parts not distinctly differentiated into sepals and petals, while angiosperms that evolved later tend to have distinctly differentiated sepals and petals. The poorly differentiated perianth parts that occupy both positions are known as tepals.

The family has approximately 225 species in 7 genera, although some classification systems include all of subfamily Magnoioideae in genus Magnolia. The family ranges across eastern North America, Mexico and Central America, the West Indies, tropical South America, southern and eastern India, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malesia, China, Japan, and Korea.

Contents

Description

The monophyly of Magnoliaceae is supported by a number of shared morphological characters among the various genera included in the family. Most have flowers that are bisexual (with the exception of Kmeria and some species of Magnolia section Gynopodium), radial, and with an elongate receptacle. Leaves are alternate, simple, and sometimes lobed. The inflorescence is a solitary, showy flower with indistinguishable petals and sepals. Sepals range from six to many; stamens are numerous and feature short filaments which are poorly differentiated from the anthers. Carpels are usually numerous, distinct, and on an elongate receptacle.[1] The fruit is an aggregate of follicles which usually become closely appressed as they mature and open along the abaxial surface. Seeds have a fleshy coat and color that ranges from red to orange (except Liriodendron). Magnoliaceae flowers are beetle pollinated, except for Liriodendron, which is bee pollinated. The carpels of Magnolia flowers are especially thick to avoid damage by beetles who, land, crawl, and feast on them. The seeds of Magnolioideae are bird dispersed while the seeds of Liriodendron are wind dispersed.

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