The Hamamelidae
Family Overview - The Urticales
Moraceae - the Mulberry Family
Diversity:  A family of 40 genera and about 1,000 species of mostly woody plants.

Distribution:  Found throughout the tropics and subtropics - pantropical - with some taxa, including the 5 genera and 9 species in Texas, extending into temperate parts of the World.

Floral structure:


Significant features:  Highly reduced flowers, with staminate inflorescences often in catkins or aments, and pistillate inflorescences maturing as a unit (multiple 'fruit').  These can be quite massive with the Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus, relative of the breadfruit) the largest tree-borne 'fruit' in the world, reaching 80 pounds in weight and up to 36 inches long and 20 inches in diameter (see overview).  Plants of the Moraceae often combine two distinctive features noted from our survey of the Magnoliidae, latex production (Papaveraceae) and a circular stipule scar (Magnoliaceae).  Multiple fruits of the large and important genus Ficus (fig) are made of up small, unisexual flowers positioned with a hollow receptacle - known as a synconium.  The edible portion of a fig is therefore non-floral tissue and the true fruit (mature ovary) are the small (crunchy) achenes.

Maclura pomifera - pistillate inflorescence shortly after anthesis - each style from a different flower Maclura pomifera - pistillate inflorescence at maturity - multiple fruit Morus - staminate inflorescence Morus - Pistillate inflorescence (Mulberry) Section of Ficus synconium - staminate flowers are red and pistillate (left) whitish (see:  University of Hawaii overview of the family


 

More information on the Moraceae


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