Moraceae – Fig or Mulberry family.
Eudicots > Clade Rosids > Order Rosales > Urticalean Rosids.
The mulberry or fig family has 37 to 40 genera and 1000 to 1400 species.
It is divided into 6 Tribes – Artocarpeae (breadfruit and jackfruit), Morea (mulberry),
Ficeae (figs) and Maclureae, Dorstenieae and Castilleae.
Distinguishing characteristics include the presence of latex in all parts of the plant and
terminal stipules or their scars.
Plants are deciduous or evergreen and mostly trees or shrubs.
There are a few lianas (woody vines) and rarely herbs.
All parts have a milky latex or coloured juices (brown, orange or yellow).
Leaves are mainly alternately arranged either in a spiral or distichous (vertical ranks).
They are rarely opposite or sub opposite.
They are simple and entire, lobed, pinnatifid or palmatifid.
Veins are pinnate, palmate or triveined.
Petioles are present.
Stipules are terminal, small or conspicuous and free or not.
They sometimes cover the buds.
When they fall they leave scars either localised or encircling the stem.
The axillary inflorescences, with tiny tightly clustered flowers, are complex.
They are usually in pairs and there may be more on short axillary shoots.
Commonly in drooping spikes, they can also be in heads or umbels.
The flowers may be free or enclosed in an enlarged, hollow receptacle (e.g. figs).
(The receptacle is that part of the stem above the insertion of the flower parts.)
Flowers are unisexual with males and females on the same or different plants.
The perianth can be absent or in 1 or, less often, 2 whorls.
It consists of tepals that resemble sepals more than petals.
When present there are 4 to 5 (1 – 8) tepals usually joined at the base.
Typical male flowers have 4 (1 – 8) stamens opposite the tepals.
All are fertile with anthers opening inwards or outwards via longitudinal slits.
There is sometimes a rudimentary carpel (a pistillode).
Female flowers have a superior to inferior ovary.
There are 2 (3) carpels but often not all develop leaving one locule with 1 ovule.
There are usually 2 styles and stigmas but sometimes only 1 develops.
There are no rudimentary stamens.
Placentation is apical or rarely basal.
The fruit is usually a drupe – a fleshy fruit with 1 seed that has a hard coat.
The calyx or receptacle enlarges to surround the ovary.
In tightly clustered inflorescences these may join to form a multiple fruit.