Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimen Records: 243
Specimens with Sequences: 327
Specimens with Barcodes: 302
Species With Barcodes: 53
Public Records: 106
Public Species: 22
Cryptocarya is a genus of evergreen trees belonging to the laurel family, Lauraceae. The genus includes more than 350 species, distributed through the Neotropic, Afrotropic, Indomalaya, and Australasia ecozones.
The genus includes species of evergreen trees, distributed mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mauritius, India, China, Java, New Guinea, and Africa, seven species in Southern Africa.
Common in the canopy, they grow up to 60 m, or as subcanopy trees in the succession climax species in tropical, lower temperate, or subtropical broadleaved forests. They are found in low-elevation evergreen forests and littoral rainforests, on all type of soils. The seeds are readily dispersed by fruit-eating birds, and seedlings and saplings have been recorded from other habitats where they are unlikely to develop to maturity.
The genus name Cryptocarya is from a Greek word krypto meaning to hide, karya meaning a walnut tree, the fruit of which was known as karyon', a word also used to describe other fruits. Sometimes, they are called mountain laurels or mountain walnuts. The fruit are succulent, partially immersed in a deep, thick cup.
In a recent generic classiﬁcation of Lauraceae based on DNA sequence, Cryptocarya was found to be part of a strongly supported clade that also includes Beilschmiedia, Potameia, Endiandra and Aspidostemon.
The ecological requirements of the genus are those of the laurel forest, mostly from the tropics or warmer temperate areas, and like most of their counterparts laurifolia in the world, they are vigorous species with a great ability to populate conducive habitats. The natural habitat of most of species are in rainforest which are cloud-covered for much of the year. These species are found in forests that face threats of destruction by human deforestation. Some species are in danger of extinction due to loss of habitat. Cryptocarya is a genus of great ecological importance. It is present in low rainforest and montane rainforest, laurel forest, in the weed-tree forests in valleys, and mixed forests of coniferous and deciduous broad-leaved trees. The differences are ecological adaptations to different environments over a relatively dry-wet and a warmer to mild frost (-2°C) in temperate climate growing in cooler regions, subject to frost and occasional snow. Species in less-humid environments are smaller or less robust, with less abundant and thinner foliage and have oleifera cells that give trees a more fragrant aroma. The most known trees are used by the timber industry. In this genus, the wood of some species has high commercial value.
The species forming this genus share a unique paniculate inﬂorescence with the ultimate divisions that are not quite cymose; that is, the lateral ﬂowers of what looks like a cyme are not strictly opposite, but tend to be subopposite, while in most genera of Lauraceae with paniculate inﬂorescences the lateral ﬂowers in a cyme are strictly opposite.
Cryptocarya has always been considered closely related to Ravensara, and is also related to the Beilschmiedia' clade and that, based on the presence of fruit included in the enlarged hypanthium, it is yet most closely related to Aspidostemon, through the similarity in fruit structure; in both Aspidostemon and Cryptocarya, the fruit are enclosed in the enlarged hypanthium, but this might be a parallel development and not a signal of common ancestry. The fruit, a drupe, is an important food source for birds, usually from specialized genera. Birds eat the whole fruit and regurgitate seeds intact, expanding the seeds in the best conditions for germination (ornitochory). In some species, seed dispersal is carried out by mammals.
Commercial selected species
The Chilean Cryptocarya alba and the Australian C. erythroxylon and C. foveolata of the mountains of New South Wales are outstanding for their frost tolerance within a genus having its majority of species growing in tropical climate. Cryptocarya woodii flowers in November with small inconspicuous flowers. These small flowers develop into round, shiny, purple-black fruits. This tree has a very hard brown wood. C. alba, the peumo, the most common evergreen tree in the Chilean Matorral ecoregion of central Chile, produces edible reddish fruits and is the most known species in the Northern Hemisphere. C. massoy is used commercially to produce essential oils. C. woodii leaves have been found in prehistoric settlements in Africa and are believed to have been used for insect control.
Some Cryptocarya species
- C. acuminata
- C. alba - peumo (Chile)
- C. angulata - ivory laurel (Australia)
- C. aristata
- C. ashersoniana (Brazil)
- C. chinensis
- C. chingii
- C. cinnamomifolia (Australia)
- C. concinna
- C. corrugata
- C. crassinervia (Indonesia)
- C. cunninghamiana - Cunningham’s laurel (Australia)
- C. densiflora (Indonesia)
- C. erythroxylon - pigeonberry ash (southeast Australia)
- C. ferrea
- C. foetida - stinking laurel (Australia) -vulnerable
- C. foveolata - mountain walnut (southeast Australia)
- C. gigantocarpa
- C. glaucescens - jackwood (Australia)
- C. grandis Cinnamon Laurel (Australia)
- C. gregsonii (Lord Howe Island)
- C. hypospodia (Australia)
- C. invasorium
- C. laevigata - glossy laurel (Australia)
- C. leptospermoides
- C. mackinnoniana - rusty laurel (Australia)
- C. massoy (Indonesia)
- C. meissneriana (Australia)
- C. membranaceae
- C. micrantha Meisn. (Brazil)
- C. microneura - murrogun (Australia)
- C. moschata Nees et Mart. ex Nees (Brazil)
- C. multipaniculata
- C. murrayi - Murray’s laurel (Australia)
- C. natalensis = Dahlgrenodendron natalense (South Africa)
- C. nigra (Indonesia)
- C. nitens (Indonesia)
- C. oblata
- C. obovata (Australia)
- C. obtusifolia
- C. odorata
- C. onoprienkoana - rose maple (Queensland)
- C. palawanensis (Philippines) - endangered
- C. palmerstonii syn. Endiandra palmerstonii - Queensland walnut (Queensland)
- C. pleurosperma - poison walnut (Australia) - toxic and corrosive sap
- C. pluricostata
- C. rigida - rose maple (Australia)
- C. scortechinii (Indonesia)
- C. transversa
- C. tomentosa
- C. triplinervis - brown laurel (Australia)
- C. vulgaris
- C. wightiana
- C. williwilliana - small-leaved laurel (Australia)
- C. woodii
The Ravensara is a Madagascar endemic genus of trees and shrubs flowering plants belonging to the family Lauraceae. Ravensare species produce Essential Oils from their bark, their leaves and their fruit. The genus is composed of species native to central and eastern Madagascar. In a recent generic classiﬁcation of Lauraceae based on DNA sequence data by Chanderbali et al. in 2001, was found to be part of a strongly supported clade that also includes Beilschmiedia, Potameia, Cryptocarya, Endiandra and Aspidostemon.
The best known species of Ravensara is Ravensara aromatica. The essential oil extracted from its leaves is used for its medicinal properties. In Madagascar this genus of trees are commonly called Hazomanitra, tree that smells. They named local bark of Ravensara anisata Havozo. Ravensara is a genus of evergreen laurel species that include currently more than 10 species, mostly in laurel forest habitat. The genus Ravensara, endemic to Madagascar, was described by Sonnerat in 1782 with the single species Ravensara aromatica. Kostermans maintained Ravensara in his treatment of the Lauraceae for the "Flore de Madagascar et des Comores" and in a later publication from 1958 in which he described an additional nine new species of Ravensara. Currently, the estimated number of species of Ravensara is about 30. Ravensara has always been considered closely related to Cryptocarya. The malgache species placed in Ravensara and Cryptocarya are still poorly known, a transfer of all Ravensara species to Cryptocarya is not justified once revised the DNA isolation. Fisically in Ravensara the fruits are ruminate, whereas in malgache Cryptocarya they are not.
The genus includes species of evergreen trees, endemic from Madagascar and Comoro Islands. The evergreen trees or shrubs in genus Ravensara are massive broad leaved evergreen trees growing 30 m tall. or slightly enlarged. Common canopy trees to 30 m, sometimes very large to 60 m. or subcanopy trees in the succession climax species in tropical, lower temperate or subtropical broadleaved forest. Across communities of evergreen broadleaved forest and mixed coniferous-broadleaved forest. Found in low elevation evergreen forests and littoral rainforest, usually on all type of soils.
The trunk itself can grow to over a meter in diameter. Twigs angular, glabrous, terminal buds densely and minutely puberulous. The leaves are dark green and shiny. The leaves are alternate, obovate to obovate-elliptic, 6-11 × 3–6 cm, glabrous, stiﬄy coriaceous, the base acute, rarely obtuse, margin ﬂat, the apex rounded, the lower surface minutely but densely gland-otted, lateral veins 4-6 on each side, reticulation raised on both surfaces, petioles glabrous, 9–14 mm long. Inﬂorescences 3.5–9 cm long, paniculate, branched from the base, glabrous; bracts along inﬂorescences mostly deciduous, 1.5 mm long, linear, pubescent. Flowers yellow-green, externally glabrous, tepals initially half-erect, in old ﬂowers spreading, ﬂowers 4–5 mm in diameter; pedicels short, from half the length of the ﬂoral tube to equaling it; having six tepals equal, narrowly ovate, 1.5–2 mm long, glabrous outside, puberulous inside; stamens 9, all 2-celled, pubescent, c. 1 mm long, the ﬁlament very short, 0.1-0.2 mm, the anther cells large, the connectives slightly prolonged beyond the anther cells; stamens with the same length and width as the tepals and hidden behind them; 2 small globose glands present at the base of the inner three stamens; staminodia small, narrowly ovate, pubescent; pistil glabrous, the style to 1 mm exserted, receptacle tubular, pubescent near the rim, otherwise glabrous. Fruits are fleshy. The fruit, a berry, are an important food source for birds, usually this birds are from specialized genus: Columbidae, Turdidae, etc. Seeds are spread by birds. Birds eat the whole fruit and regurgitate seeds intact, expanding the seeds in the best conditions for germination (ornitochory).
Only two species of Ravensara have the combination of glabrous twigs and leaves and raised reticulation on both surfaces of the leaves. Of these two, Ravensara macrophylla, only known from the fruiting type, diﬀers in leaf shape (elliptic) and size (16–20 cm long). Like R. glabriﬂora, it has glabrous ﬂowers, a feature unknown in other members of the genus on Madagascar, although ﬂowers are unknown in 13 species.
This genus reported for Madagascar and Comores Islands, have differences resultanting in ecological adaptations to different environments over a relatively dry-wet climate. Species in less humid environment are smaller or less robust, with less abundant and thinner foliage and have oleifera cells that give trees a more fragrant aroma. The Ravensara genus has led to endemic species on islands, but not so widespread geographically as in the past.
Ravensara genus is becoming endangered. Due to the low density, exploitation of the natural populations is in the detriment of the rainforest. The Ravensara genus is included in the Cryptocarya within the Lauraceae family, by Ravensara oil proposes. Some species have been used for a long time to produce essential oils for the pharmaceuticals industry.
The ecological requirements of the genus, are mostly those of the laurel forest and like most of their counterparts laurifolia in the world, they are vigorous species with a great ability to populate the habitat that is conducive. Machilus responded to favourable climatic periods and expanded across the available habitat. The main centers are found inhabiting wet lands in tropical or subtropical montane forests or coastal rainforest or coastal temperate forest in low-altitude. The islander Ravensara species can not enduring the bad winter, from continental climate. Those garden cultivated species outside its natural distribution could be killed by continental winter.
It contains the following species, but this list is incomplete:
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