Habit and leaf form. Glutinous-villous herbs. Plants autotrophic. Annual, or perennial; often tuberous. Leaves alternate, or opposite; petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Lamina cross-venulate. Leaves exstipulate.
Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; on both surfaces; anomocytic. Hairs present; glandular.
Lamina dorsiventral. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Martynia).
Stem anatomy. Medullary bundles absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. Vessel end-walls simple.
Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence unit racemose. Inflorescences terminal; terminal racemes. Flowers very irregular; zygomorphic. The floral irregularity involving the perianth and involving the androecium. Flowers 5 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present; intrastaminal.
Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous (sometimes nearly free, split down one side and spathaceous in Craneolaria); blunt-lobed; with the median member posterior. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; gamopetalous; imbricate; unequal but not bilabiate, or bilabiate.
Androecium 3, or 5. Androecial members adnate (epipetalous); markedly unequal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium including staminodes. Staminodes 1, or 3 (the posterior member always reduced); in the same series as the fertile stamens; representing the posterior median member, or the posterior median member and the posterior-lateral pair. Fertile stamens representing the anterior-lateral pair, or the posterior-lateral pair and the anterior-lateral pair. Stamens 2 (the shorter pair sometimes sterile, as well as the posterior, in Martynia), or 4; didynamous, or not didynamous, not tetradynamous; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth; oppositisepalous; alternating with the corolla members. Anthers connivent; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; tetrasporangiate. Endothecium developing fibrous thickenings. Anther epidermis persistent. Microsporogenesis simultaneous. The initial microspore tetrads tetrahedral, or isobilateral, or decussate. Anther wall initially with one middle layer. Tapetum glandular. Pollen grains aperturate, or nonaperturate (synrugoidate?); 13–40 aperturate (?— polyaperturate); foraminate, or rugate; 3-celled (in Proboscidea).
Gynoecium 2 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 1 celled, or 4 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary unilocular; 1 locular (but rendered more or less 4-locular in the fruit, by union of the T-shaped placentae with one another and with the endocarp). Locules secondarily divided by ‘false septa’ to without ‘false septa’. Gynoecium median. Styles 1; attenuate from the ovary; apical. Stigmas 1, or 2; 2 lobed. Placentation parietal. Ovules in the single cavity 3–100 (‘few to many’); anatropous; unitegmic; tenuinucellate. Endothelium differentiated. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells formed; 3; not proliferating; persistent. Synergids pear-shaped (large). Endosperm formation cellular. Endosperm haustoria present; chalazal (in Martynia). Embryogeny onagrad.
Fruit fleshy to non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal (the soft outer pericarp shed, the inner woody). Dispersal by animals, associated with usually hooked or curved spurs which develop from the tip of the midrib of each carpel. Seeds scantily endospermic. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight.
Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.
Physiology, biochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Iridoids detected; ‘Route II’ type (+decarb.). Verbascosides detected (Martynia). Cornoside detected (Martynia). Proanthocyanidins absent. Flavonols present, or absent; kaempferol. Ellagic acid absent (2 genera, 2 species). Saponins/sapogenins absent.
Geography, cytology. Neotropical. Sub-tropical to tropical. Tropical and subtropical South America, Mexico.
Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Lamiiflorae; Scrophulariales. Cronquist’s Subclass Asteridae; Scrophulariales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; lamiid; Order Lamiales (as a synonym of Pedaliaceae).
Species 13. Genera 4; Craniolaria, Ibicella, Martynia, Proboscidea.
• Technical details: Craniolaria, Martynia.
• Martynia diandra: Bot. Reg. 2001, 1837.
• Martynia fragrans: Bot. Reg. 6, 1841.
• Martynia lutea: Bot. Reg. 934, 1825.