Monoecious, perennial, terrestrial or sometimes epiphytic herbs, or herbaceous vines or lianas. Stem very short to long and slender, unbranched or branched, rhizomatous to aerial, usually ± lignified. Leaves spiral, spirodistichous, or orthodistichous; adult leaves always with leaf sheaths, petiolate in most species; leaf blades generally bifid, more seldom flabelliform-parted or entire, unicostate or tricostate. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal, unbranched, pedunculate spadix subtended and initially enveloped by 2-11 conspicuous, foliaceous or petalaceous spathes. Flowers unisexual, densely crowded, generally (subfam. Carludovicoideae) in spirally arranged groups (partial inflorescences), each group consisting of 1 pistillate flower surrounded by 4 staminate flowers, or (subfam. Cyclanthoideae) in alternate cycles, seldom spirals, of staminate and pistillate units. Staminate flowers in the Carludovicoideae usually with marginally situated perianth lobes on abaxial side to all around the receptacle, lobes usually in 1 whorl, rarely in 2 whorls or lacking; staminate flowers in the Cyclanthoideae as linear rows of stamens; stamens mostly numerous; anthers basifixed, bithecate and tetrasporangiate, usually longitudinally dehiscent, rarely with a special 2-phase dehiscence mechanism; filaments basally ±connate and usually swollen into socalled basal bulbs, filaments or basal bulbs rarely lacking. Pistillate flowers in the Carludovicoideae free or usually partly connate with each other; tepals 4, free or connate, usually epigynous to perigynous, more seldom almost hypogynous, of different shape, often enlarged and indurate in fruit; staminodes 4, flexuously filiform, opposite the tepals; ovary 4-carpellate, unilocular, entirely protruding from or more often ±embedded in the rachis, with 4 parietal, subapical, or apical placentae, or with one apical placenta, each placenta bearing numerous anatropous, heterotropous ovules; styles lacking or 4 free styluli, or these ± concrescent into a common style; stigmas 4, alternating with the tepals, of different shape; styluli and stigmas generally perslsting and enlarging during fruit development; pistillate flowers in the Cyclanthoideae not discernible, coalescent into cycles (rarely spirals) consisting of double pistillate rows with locules confluent into a continuous ovarian chamber with numerous parietal placentae, each pistillate row having 1 row each of very much reduced perianth, staminodes, and carpels. Fruits in the Carludovicoideae ± fleshy, free or united to a syncarp; in the Cyclanthoideae united to ± dry, hollow rings (or spirals) filled with seeds. Seeds numerous, small to rather large, flat to terete; testa variable; endosperm copious, fat and fleshy, usually lacking starch; embryo medium-sized, straight. A neotropical family of 12 genera and about 230 species.
Harling, G., Wilder, G.J., Eriksson, R., Kubitzki, K., 1998. Cyclanthaceae With kind permission from Springer Science+Business Media: This work is subject to copyright. All rights reserved, whether whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, broadcasting reproduction on microfilm or in any other way, and storage in data banks. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the German Copyright Law of September 9, 1965, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer-Verlag. Violations are liable for prosecution under German Copyright Law.