Morphological characters of fruits and seeds of 23 Cuban species are studied. The fruits consist of 1–5 small 1-seeded and modified follicles. The pericarp is made of a woody exocarp and a pergamentous to cartilaginous endocarp. Fruitlet dehiscence takes place slowly and the shiny dark seed persists in the dehisced follicle. In spite of some variability in the shape of fruitlets and seeds as well as in the mode of follicle dehiscence, fruitlets and seeds provide taxonomically relevant combinations of characters. There are differences in the mode of endocarp detachment (a full detachment in one group and a partial detachment in another one), and there are differences in the mode of dehiscence (“semivalvate” or “bivalvate”) as well as in the presentation of the seed (either hanging on the detached placenta and placentar bundle, or exposured by the exocarpic or endocarpic valves). These characters occur in combination with a specific shape of follicle and seed. For Cuban species five types are described. In the light of these results and in connection with the morphology of the gynoecia Engler's grouping system of the Zanthoxylum species with biseriate perianth is discussed.
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Vol. 26 • No. 1/2