Myrsinaceae

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Myrsinaceae, or the Myrsine family, was formerly recognized as a rather large family from the order Ericales. It consists of 35 genera and about 1000 species.

It is a widespread family belonging to temperate to tropical climates extending north to Europe, Siberia, Japan, Mexico and Florida, and south to New Zealand, South America, and South Africa.

They are mostly mesophytic trees and shrubs; a few are lianas or sub-herbaceous. The leathery, evergreen leaves are simple and alternate, with smooth margins and without stipules. They are often dotted with glands and resinous cavities. The latter may take the form of secretory lines.

The plants are mostly monoecious, but a few are dioecious. The small flowers are arranged in racemose terminal clusters, or in the leaf axils. The flowers are 4-merous or 5-merous, i.e. they have 4 or 5 sepals and petals. The floral envelope (= perianth) has a distinct calyx and corolla. The calyx is regular and polysepalous. The non-fleshy petals of the corolla are more or less united, closely overlapping. There are 4 or 5 stamens, usually isomerous with the perianth. The carpel has one style and one stigma, with the ovary unilocular, superior or semi-inferior.

The one-seeded, indehiscent fruit is a thin-fleshed berry or drupe.[citation needed]

North-American species are the Marlberry (Ardisia escalloniodes) and the Florida Rapanea (Rapanea punctata).

Plants in the Myrsine family have few economic uses. A few genera, such as Ardisia, Cyclamen, Lysimachia, and Myrsine are grown as ornamental plants, especially Ardisia crispa and Myrsine africana. One species, Ardisia japonica (Chinese: 紫金牛; pinyin: zǐjīn niú) is one of the 50 fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.

In the APG III system, Myrsinaceae was not recognized, but was sunk into Primulaceae, which in that system is circumscribed very broadly.

Genera[edit]

The following genera, traditionally categorized in Primulaceae s.l., should, according to Källersjö et al. (2000), belong to the clade of Myrsinaceae s. lat. : Anagallis, Ardisiandra, Asterolinon, Coris, Cyclamen, Glaux, Lysimachia, Pelletiera and Trientalis .

References[edit]