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Eight wood samples representing six species in two genera of Scytopetalaceae are examined with respect to qualitative and quantitative features. Rhaptopetalum differs from Scytopetalum by having scalariform perforation plates, fiber-tracheids, longer vessel elements, and a series of features probably related to the understory status of Rhaptopetalum is compared to the emergent nature of Scytopetalum. Features ofScytopetalaceae relevant to relationships of the family include (I) scaJariform perforation plates; (2) alternate medium-sized intervascular pits; (3) scalariform vessel-parenchyma pitting; (4) diffuse-in-aggregates and scanty vasicentric axial parenchyma; (5) axial parenchyma strands subdivided in places into chains of chambered crystals; and (6) rays that are high, wide, heterogeneous, and with erect cells comprising uniseriate rays. These features are compared for a number of families alleged by recent phylogenists to be related to Scytopetalaceae. Scytopetalaceae appears best placed in Theales, nearest to such families as Caryocaraceae, Lecythidaceae, Ochnaceae, Quiinaceae, and Theaceae, although Rosales (e.g., Cunoniaceae) must be cited also on account of numerous resemblances in wood anatomy.

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© 1988 Sherwin Carlquist

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