Family Aquifoliaceae Bartling 1830 nom conserv the Holly Family

Physical description: The family Aquifoliaceae consists of 4 genera and about 400 species of cosmopolitan, evergreen trees and shrubs which are known to produce triterpenoid saponins, flavonoids, and purine or pyridine base alkaloids. The leaves in this family are simple, alternate, with or without stipules.



The flowers are actinomorphic and hermaphrodite or not. The inflorescences are cymose, fasciculate or seldom solitary. The calyx comprises of 4 sepals which are small and imbricate. The corolla consists of 4 petals which are imbricate or valvate and shortly connate at the base. The andrecium comprises of 4 stamens which are alternate with the petals, free and with dithecal and tetrasporangiate anthers opening by longitudinal slits. The gynecium consists of 4-6 carpels united to from a compound, superior ovary with as many locules as carpels, each locule containing 1 or 2 pendulous ovules. The style is terminal and short or indistinct. The fruits are berries containing as many stones as carpels, and they are poisonous.

Pharmaceutical interest: Classical examples of Aquifoliaceae are Ilex aquifolium L. (common holly) and Ilex opaca Aiton, which are extensively cultivated for use as Christmas decorations. A number of the plants classi-fled within the genus Ilex contain caffeine and are used to make invigorating beverages — America: Ilex paraguariensis (yerba de mate, mate, Paraguay tea), Ilex guayusa ; North America: Ilex cassine (cassina, dahoon holly), Ilex verticillata (winter berry) and Asia: Ilexchinensis. Note that there is an expanding body of evidence to suggest that a daily intake of yerba de mate promotes aerodigestive tumors. Ilex asprella Champ., Ilex chinensis Sims, Ilex cornuta Lindl., Ilexyunnanensis Franch., Ilex godajan (Coleb. Ex Wall.) Wall. and Ilex wallichii Hook f. are of medicinal value in the Asia-Paciflc.

Continue reading here: Ilexpubescens Hook

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