General features and economic importance of Cucurbitaceae, Gramineae, Solanaceae family
General features/characteristics of Cucurbitaceae:
1. Habit: Mostly annual or perennial herbs. They are mostly tendril climbers.
2. Roots: Tap root.
3. Stem: Herbaceous. Stem is very solid. It has tendrils.
4. Leaves: Petiolate; Leaves are alternate; simple; exstipulate; palmately reticulate venation. Sonic leaves bear tendrils in their axils.
5. Inflorescence: The flowers are solitary but some have Racemose or cymose.
6. Flower: Pedicellate; bracteate; actinomorphic; Regular; complete or incomplete; unisexual or hermaphrodite; plant may be monoecious or dioecious; epigynous;
7. Calyx: 5 sepals; united; campanula; germ.
8. Corolla: 5 petals; united at base or free; yellow or white.
9. Stamens in male flowers: 3 to 5 stamens; united by various degree; anther are verb- long. Stamens are borne on calyx tube.
10. Carpels in female flowers: 3 fused carpels; syncarpous; inferior ovary; Parietal placentation.
11. Fruits: Fleshy berry
12. Seed: Non-endospermic seed.
Economic importance of Cucurbitaceae:
1. Vegetables and fruits: Many members of this family produce vegetables and fruits. Some of vegetables and fruits are: wax gourd, Water melon, Mask melon, marrow, cucumber Loofah,
2. Medicinal importance: Some plants of this family give important drugs. The fruits and seeds of majority of them are laxatives. A plant. gives a drug Ecballium elaterium gives a drug elaterium.
3. Bath sponges: The vegetable sponge (Luna) is dried. Its inner fibrous fruit is removed and used as bath sponge. It is also used for dish washing.
4. Ornamental plants: Certain vines of this family are grown as ornamental plants.
5. Dangerous plants: Sonic plants are very dangerous to humans. The juice of Echo elaterium (Squirting cucumber).
6. Weeds: Sonic plants of this family act as weeds.
Common species of Cucurbitaceae:
- Cucurbita. maxima
- Cucumis melo
- Cucumis sativus
- Luffa acutangula
General features/characteristics of Solanaceae:
1. Habit: Annual, biennial or perennial herbs, or small tree.
2. Roots: Fibrous or tuberous tap root.
3. Stem: Herbaceous or Snood); sometimes underground stem (tuber).
4. Leaves: Petiolate; alternate or opposite; simple; exstipulate;
5. Inflorescence: Terminal or lateral cyme or solitary.
6. Flower: Pedicellate; ebracteate; actinomorphic or zygomorphic; Regular; complete; hermaphrodite; hypogynous;
7. Calyx: 5 sepals; fused (gamosepalous); green; often much enlarged in the fruit.
8. Corolla: 5 petals; gamopetalous, bell shaped or funnel shaped.
9. Stamens: 5 stamens; epipetalous; anther free or united; basifixed.
10. Carpel: Bicarpellary, syncarpous; ovary superior; obliquely placed; bilocular, sometimes, become multilocular by the formation of false septum. Placentation axile.
11. Fruits: Capsule or berry.
12. Seed: Endospermic seed.
Economic Importance of Solanaceae
1. Food: Many plants of this family are used as food. Solanum tuberosum (potato-white or Irish potato): It is an important plant in this family. It is used as food. The people of Ireland completely depend on potato for food.
Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato): Once it was believed to be a poisonous plant. Nov it is used as a vegetable.
Solarium melongena (eggplant or brinjal): It is also used as food. Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens are rich in vitamin C and Vitamin A. They are used as condiments.
Physalis (4-jet-Ground-Cherry): It produces an edible fruit. This fruit is enclosed in a bladder like calyx called husk. So, it is called husk tomato.
2. Tobacco: Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) has great commercial value. It leaves are dried and made into tobacco. This tobacco is used for making cigarettes.
3. Medicinal plants: Many members of this family produce powerful alkaloids. e.g., Atropa belladonna, Datura are rich in atropine and daturines. These are used in many medicines.
4. Ornamental Plants: Many plants are cultivated in the gardens for their beautiful flowers. Examples: Petunia, Nicotiana, Cestrum and Solanum etc.
5. Weeds: Some plants are weeds, e.g., Solanum nigrum
Common species of Solanaceae
- Solanum tuberosum: Potato
- Nicotiana tabacum: Tobacco
- Lycopersicon esculentum: Tomato
- Capsicum frutescens: Red pepper
- Solanum melongena (eggplant or brinjal)
General Features/Characteristics of Gramineae (Poaceae)
1. Habit: Annual or perennial herbs; rarely tree (bamboos.
2. Roots: Fibrous adventitious.
3. Stem: Herbaceous; cylindrical; jointed, hollow at internodes. Sometimes, forms rhizome or runner.
4. Leaves: Sessile with long sheathing base; alternate; simple; ligulate; parallel venation.
5. inflorescence: Spike of spikelets or panicles of spikelets. Each spikelet is composed of 2-5 flowers. It is enclosed by a pair of bracts called glumes. Spike of spikelets: The spikelets form dense clusters in sessile manner on main axis as in wheat. Panicles of spikelets: The spikelets are arranged on a branched axis-panicle as in oat
6. Flower: Pedicellate; bracteate, two bracts palea and lemma enclose flower or floret; lemma contain bristle like awns zygomorphic; incomplete; unisexual or hermaphrodite; hypogynous.
7. Perianth: Represented by two or three scale like lodicules.
8. Androecium: 3 stamens, sometimes 1,2 or 6; polyandrous; anther versatile.
9. Gynoecium: Monocarpellary; unilocular; ovary superior; stigma usually 2; feathery; basal placentation.
10. Fruits: Caryopsis
11. Seed: Endospermic.
Economic Importance of Gramineae (Poaceae)
This family has greater importance than all other families of the flowering plants. It has importance both for man and animals.
1. Food: All the cereals and millets belong to this family. These from the basic food of mankind. These plants are: Triticum sp. (Wheat). Avena sativa (oat), Zea mays (corn), Oryza sativa. (rice), Hordeum vulgare (barley), Secale cereale (rye).
2. Fodders: Most of the fodders of the animals also belong to this family. The dried stems and leaves of the cereal crops are used as fodder for the cattle,
3. Sugar: Sugar is obtained from the juice of Saccharum officinarum (sugar cane).
5. Ornamental plants: Many grasses are used e.g., Agrostis. Boa, Festuca etc. these plants have. S ornamental significance.
6. Aromatic oils: Certain grasses give aromatic oil, e.g., Cymbopogon throws (lemon grass). It gives lemongrass oil. This oil is used in perfumes and soap industry for making infusions.
7. Paper industry: Some species of grasses are used for making papers.
8. Alcohol and beverages: Ethyl alcohol and many other beverages are prepared from cereals. For example, wine is prepared from rye, corn and rum molasses from sugar cane.
9. Ropes: Fibers are obtained from the leaves of Saccharin munjo. These fibers are used for making ropes.
10. Used of Bamboo: Bambusa (bamboo) are used as building material. These are used for thatching huts, making boats, carts pipes etc. Their split stems are woven into mars, fans, hats and ‘course umbrella. Their leaves are given to horse for curing cough and cold.
Common species of Gramineae (Poaceae) :
- Triticum vulgare, wheat
- Zea mays (corn)
- Avena sativa
- Oryza saliva (rice)
- Bambusa (bamboo)
- Saccharum officinarum (Sugar cane).