Carpodetus J.R. Forst. & G. Forst.


Rousseaceae (formerly Carpodetaceae)

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New Trees

The two species of Carpodetus occur in New Zealand (C. serratus, described below) and in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (C. arboreus Schltr.). They are small evergreen trees or shrubs with simple, alternate leaves. The leaves are serrated with glandular margins. The inflorescences are lax, terminal and axillary panicles. The flowers are hermaphrodite only or with hermaphrodite and female flowers on separate trees. The calyx is conical with (four to) five to six lobes; petals and stamens match the number of teeth. The fruit is a leathery, indehiscent berry with numerous small seeds (Allan 1961, van Royen 1983). The relationships of Carpodetus have long puzzled systematists. Modern DNA-based taxonomy places it in the small family Rousseaceae (Lundberg 2001, APG 2003), though previously it has at different times been included in the Escalloniaceae, the Grossulariaceae, the Saxifragaceae, and in its own family Carpodetaceae (together with the closely related genera Abrophyllum Hook. f. ex Benth. and Cuttsia F. Muell.).

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The foliage of Carpodetus serratus always looks as if it has a nutrient deficiency, but this is its natural state. Image J. Grimshaw.

Species articles