cotyledon number request

Eric Zurcher Eric.Zurcher at PI.CSIRO.AU
Tue Nov 28 09:17:27 CST 2000

At 09:29 27-11-2000 +0100, Finn Rasmussen wrote:
>Una Smith wrote:
>         According to Watson and Dallwitz's "Families of Flowering Plants"
>         (, of 473 dicot families
>         112 are coded unknown, 14 are coded inapplicable, and 347 are
>         coded for cotyledon number.
><dicot table deleted>
>          Of 109 monocot families, 28 are unknown, 11 are inappliable, and
>         70 are coded for cotyledon number:
>          cotyledons      families
>                 1               69
>                 2               3
>         Note that a family can have more than one number of cotyledons.
>It seems to have escaped Watson and Dallwitz that in the largest monocot
>family (Orchidaceae, about 1/3 of the monocots) there are no cotyledons at
>Finn N Rasmussen, Copenhagen.

I think that's being a bit unfair to Watson and Dallwitz - I am sure the
situation in the Orchidaceae has not "escaped" them. Taking a quick look at
the data set, it appears that Orchidaceae is one of the families for which
cotyledon number is not coded (equivalent to "unknown"). Actually, the
relevant information is dealt with in another character, which indicates
that within the Orchidaceae, the embryo is (usually) rudimentary at the
time of seed release.

Eric Zurcher
CSIRO Livestock Industries
Canberra, ACT Australia
E-mail: Eric.Zurcher at

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