, or shrubs
, succulent. Stems erect
. Leaves simple
, rarely pinnate, mostly opposite, sometimes alternate, in many species fleshy
entire, rarely with teeth; true stipules absent, sometimes a stipule-like sheath
present at base
. Inflorescences terminal
or seemingly axillary
cymes, or solitary flowers. Flowers bisexual
, rarely unisexual
, perigynous or epigynous
. Nectaries separate or in a ring
around ovary. Tepals (4 or) 5( 8), connate
below into a tube
. Petals absent or present. Stamens 3 to many, free
or connate at base, outermost often as filamentous
dehiscing by longitudinal
slits. Ovary inferior, syncarpous
; carpels 2 to many; ovules 1 to many, on long funicles
, mostly campylotropous; placentation axile
, sometimes basal-parietal. Stigmas as many as carpels. Fruit a hygroscopic
or circumscissile capsule, more rarely a berry or nut. Seeds with slender embryo curved
, rarely with an aril; endosperm scanty or absent.
About 135 genera and 1800 species: mainly in arid , subtropical regions, most species in S Africa, some in Australia and W parts of the Americas, some pantropical ; three genera and three species in China.
The family is divided into five subfamilies, of which two, Sesuvioideae and Tetragonioideae, are represented by native species in China.
Many members of the subfamilies Mesembryanthemoideae and Ruschioideae are ornamentals and are in cultivation worldwide. Until the early 20th century, these were nearly all included in the genus Mesembryanthemum. Since then, the majority of the members of that genus has been placed in a great number of smaller genera. Five species have been recorded as cultivated in China: Aptenia cordifolia (Linnaeus f.) Schwantes, Carpobrotus edulis (Linnaeus) L. Bolus, Glottiphyllum longum (Haworth) N. E. Brown, Lampranthus spectabilis (Haworth) N. E. Brown, and Mesembryanthemum crystallinum Linnaeus. Further species are likely to be introduced into China.
Tetragonia, together with the genus Tetragonocarpus, is sometimes treated as an independent family, the Tetragoniaceae. Sesuvium and Trianthema, together with Cypselea Turpin and Zaleya N. L. Burman, are sometimes treated as a separate family, the Sesuviaceae.
, succulent, glabrous
, or papillate
. Roots fibrous
. Stems prostrate
[subscandent], semiwoody at base
. Leaves cauline, alternate, usually petioled; stipules absent; blade
entire to slightly sinuate
or shallowly lobed
. Inflorescences: axillary
of 2-3 flowers or flowers solitary, sessile or peduncled; bracts absent. Flowers bisexual
, inconspicuous, 5[-10] mm diam.; calyx campanulate
to ovary, angled
, or horned; calyx lobes [3-]4-5[-7], green or yellow adaxially; petals and petaloid
staminodia absent; nectary
absent; stamens 1-20, perigynous; pistil 3-10-carpellate; ovary inferior [half inferior], [1-]3-10-loculed; placentation apical; ovule 1 per locule; styles 3-10; stigmas 3-10. Fruits nutlike [drupaceous
], angled, indehiscent; horns [2-]4-6[-7]. Seeds 1-10, light brown, ± reniform
, arils absent.
Species 60: introduced ; South America, e Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands (New Zealand), Australia.
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Brongniart, 1843
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Perleb, 1826
- Family: Aizoaceae () - Augier, 1801 ex Martinov, 1820, nom. cons. - ice plants
- Suborder: Phytolaccineae ()
- Order: Caryophyllales () - Perleb, 1826
- Superorder: Caryophyllanae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Subclass: Caryophyllidae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- 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
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
Members of the genus Tetragonia
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 3 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:
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- A general history of the dichlamydeous plants, comprising complete descriptions of the different orders; together with the characters of the genera and species, and an enumeration of the cultivated varieties. .. the scientific names accentuated, t By George Don. London, J.G. and F. Rivington [etc.]1831-38. url p. 152.
- Directory of Wetlands of International Importance. IUCN url p. 544, p. 780.
- The Journal of the Linnean Society. Botany. 45 1920-22 London: the Society: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green: ||Williams and Norgate, 1865-1968. url p. 47.
- Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society. 14 1904 Cape Town, : The Society. url p. 270.
- Lu Dequan. 1996. Aizoaceae (SesuviumTetragonia). In: Tang Changlin, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 26: 3036.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 15, 2012.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 29, 2007:
- Australian National Herbarium
- , Australian National Herbarium
- National Herbarium of New South Wales, NSW herbarium collection
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 5974330
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 14698720
- Globally Unique Identifier: urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:85717-3
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 896193
- Dequan Lu & Heidrun E. K. Hartmann "Aizoaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 5 Page 440. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- Nancy J. Vivrette "Tetragonia". in Flora of North America Vol. 4 Page 75, 76, 77. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]