Herbs twining or woody vines, rarely erect, small herbs. Rootstock rhizomatous or tuberous. Stem twining to left or right, pubescent or glabrous, sometimes prickly. Leaves alternate or opposite, petiolate, simple or palmately compound, basal veins 3--13, interstitial veins reticulate; leaflets of palmately compound leaves often ovate or lanceolate. Flowers usually unisexual (when plants dioecious, rarely monoecious), sometimes bisexual, solitary, clustered, or in cymules, these in a spike, raceme, or thyrse, these sometimes grouped into panicles. Male flowers: perianth lobes 6, in 2 whorls, basally connate or free; stamens 6, sometimes 3 reduced to staminodes or absent, inserted on perianth or receptacle; ovary rudimentary or absent. Female flowers: similar to male ones; staminodes 3, 6, or absent; ovary inferior, 3-loculed, ovules usually 2 per locule (more than 2 in a few small genera), placentation axile; styles 3, free. Fruit a capsule, berry, or samara. Seeds with a membranous wing or not; endosperm present; embryo small.
The Family Dioscoreaceae is a member of the Order Dioscoreales. Here is the complete "parentage" of Dioscoreaceae:
- Domain: Eukaryota
Whittaker & Margulis,1978 - eukaryotes
- Kingdom: Plantae
Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae
Cavalier-Smith, 1981 - Green Plants
- Phylum: Tracheophyta
Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses
Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Class: Magnoliopsida Brongniart, 1843 - Dicotyledons
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina
- Phylum: Tracheophyta Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae Cavalier-Smith, 1981 - Green Plants
- Kingdom: Plantae Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
The Family Dioscoreaceae is further organized into finer groupings including:
- Subfamily (3): Rhododendroideae · Spiraeoideae · Trollioideae
- Tribe (3): Delphinieae · Rhododendreae · Spiraeeae
- Genus (18): Avetra · Bordera · Borderea · Botryosicyos · Dioscorea · Discorea · Epipetrum · Helmia · Nanarepenta · Oncus · Rajania · Rhizemys · Steireya · Stenomeris · Tamnus · Tamus · Testudinaria · Thamnus
- Species: ZipcodeZoo has pages for 1,445 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in the Family Dioscoreaceae.
Dioscorea is a genus of over 600 species of flowering plants in the family Dioscoreaceae, native throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world. The vast majority of the species are tropical, with only a few species extending into temperate climates. It is named after the ancient Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides. [more]
Tamus is a genus of one or two species of flowering plants in the family Dioscoreaceae, native to Europe, northwestern Africa, and western Asia. The genus is now often included within the related genus Dioscorea, but is maintained as distinct by some authors. [more]
More info about the Genus Thamnus may be found here.
- Ting Chih-tsun, Chang Mei-chen & Ling Ping-ping. 1985. Dioscoreaceae. In: Pei Chien & Ting Chih-tsun, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 16(1) : 54--120.
- Chih-chi Ting & Michael G. Gilbert "Dioscoreaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 24 Page 276. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org.
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