Higher classification Magnoliales
Scientific name Degeneriaceae
I.W. Bailey & A.C. Sm.|
Similar Eupomatiaceae, Lactoridaceae, Magnoliales, Canellaceae, Trimeniaceae
Degeneriaceae is a family of flowering plants endemic to Fiji. The APG III system of 2009 (unchanged from the APG system of 1998 and the APG II system of 2003), recognizes this family, and assigns it to the order Magnoliales in the clade magnoliids.
The family consists of only one genus, Degeneria, which was named after Otto Degener, who first found D. vitiensis in 1942. The Degeneria genus contains two species of trees in Fiji:
The floral structure of Degeneria is unusual, considered to be primitive among the flowering plants. The stamens are similar to those in Austrobaileya, Galbulimima, and some Magnoliaceae; they do not have distinguishable anther, filament, and connective, but instead are leaf-like, with two pairs of microsporangia embedded in the surface. There are three veins, rather than the single vein in the stamen of most flowering plants. The gynoecium develops in an unusual way, similar to Winteraceae, with laminal placentation, i.e., the young carpel is cup-shaped, and the ovules develop on its upper surface. The margins of the carpel never fully fuse. A cleft remains filled with hairs, through which the pollen tubes grow towards the ovules.