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Manual of the New Zealand Flora.

Order XLVI. Sapotaceæ

Order XLVI. Sapotaceæ.

Trees or shrubs, often with milky juice. Leaves alternate, coriaceous, entire; stipules usually wanting. Flowers regular, hermaphrodite or occasionally polygamous, axillary, solitary or page 435clustered. Calyx inferior, 4–8-lobed or -partite; lobes imbricate. Corolla gamopetalous, hypogynous, tube short, lobes as many or 2–4 times as many as the divisions of the calyx. Stamens inserted on the tube of the corolla and opposite to the lobes, either as many or twice as many as the lobes, sometimes alternating with staminodia. Ovary superior, 2–8-celled; style simple, straight; stigma punctiform, simple or lobed; ovules solitary in each cell, attached to the inner angle. Fruit a 1- to many-celled berry, frequently 1-celled and 1-seeded by abortion. Seeds often with the testa crustaceous and shining; albumen present or wanting; embryo straight, radicle inferior.

A small order, widely distributed in the tropics of both hemispheres, but almost unknown in temperate regions. Genera 25; species not far from 350, many of them imperfectly known. The order includes several species useful to man, the most important being the Malayan Isonandra gutta, which produces gutta-percha. The star-apple (GhrysovhyLlum Cainita) and the African butter-tree (Bassia Parkii) are edible species, and there are several others not so well known. The New Zealand genus is widely spread in tropical countries.

1. Sideroxylon, Linn.

Trees or shrubs, glabrous or pubescent. Leaves alternate, coriaceous, exstipulate. Flowers usually small, in axillary fascicles, sessile or pedicelled. Calyx-segments 5, much imbricated, subequal. Corolla subcampanulate; lobes 5, imbricated. Stamens 5, affixed to the throat of the corolla and opposite to the lobes; filaments short or long; anthers ovate or lanceolate. Staminodia 5, alternating with the stamens. Ovary glabrous or villous, 5- or rarely 2–4-celled; style cylindric, short or long. Berry ovoid or globose; seeds often solitary by abortion, sometimes 2–5, usually oblong, compressed; testa hard, crustaceous or bony; albumen fleshy; cotyledons flat, broad, often foliaceous; radicle short.

Species about 80, chiefly found in the tropical regions of both hemispheres.

1.S. costatum, F. Muell. First Census Austral. PI. 92.—A handsome closely branched tree 20–40 ft. high; trunk 1–3 ft. diam.; branchlets clothed with appressed pubescence. Leaves 2–4 in. long, elliptic-obovate or oblong-obovate, obtuse, narrowed into petioles ¼–½ in. long, quite entire, coriaceous, shining, glabrous except the petiole and midrib, which are finely puberulous, primary veins parallel, diverging from the midrib almost at right angles. Flowers axillary or from the nodes below the leaves, solitary or 2 together, small, ⅛–⅙ in. diam., polygamous; peduncles stout, curved, ¼–½ in. long. Calyx-segments 4 or 5, broadly oblong or ovate, concave, ciliate. Corolla slightly exceeding the calyx, 4–5-partite to below the middle. Stamens as many as the corolla-segments; filaments short, thick. Staminodia subulate. Ovary 4–5-celled. Berry large, 1 in. long, broadly oblong or obovoid. Seeds 1 to 4, but usually 2 or 3, almost as long as the fruit, smooth page 436 and polished, bony, elliptical, curved.—Kirk, Forest Fl. t. 133. Sapota costata, A. D.C. in D.C. Prodr. viii. 175; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 174; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 186. Achras costata, Endl. Prodr. Fl. Ins. Norfl. 49; A. Cunn. Precur. n. 404; Raoul, Choix, 44. A. novo-zealandica, F. Muell. Fragm. ix. 72.

North Island: Islands and rocky headlands from the North Cape to the East Cape and Tolago Bay, not common. Ascends to 1500 ft. on the Little Barrier Island. Tawapou.

Also on Norfolk Island, where the flowers are said to be uniformly pentamerous, while in New Zealand they are chiefly tetramerous, especially the females. The wood is bard, white, and durable; and the bony seeds were formerly used for necklaces by the Maoris.