Mayacaceae Kunth
  • Abh. Königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1840: 93 (1842) nom. cons.

This taxon is accepted by eMonocot

General Description

Aquatic to telmatic perennial, rooted herbs. Leaves simple, spirally arranged, sessile, without a basal sheath, lanceolate to linear or nearly filiform, commonly bidentate apically. Flowers axillary, solitary on short to long pedicels, emergent, actinomorphic, perfect, hypogynous, trimerous, with strongly differentiated calyx and corolla; sepals 3, equal, free, green, valvate to subvalvate; petals 3, equal free, white, imbricate, short-clawed; stamens 3, alternate with the petals; filaments slender, glabrous; anthers basifixed, tetrasporangiate to bisporangiate, opening by apical pores or porelike slits or sometimes by pores at the end of a tubular apical appendage. Ovary unilocular, composed of 3 united carpels, placentation parietal; style simple, terminal; stigma short capitate or slightly trifid. Ovules several to numerous, biseriate on each of the 3 parietal placentas atropous, bitegmic, tenuinucellate. Fruit a loculicidal capsule with 3 lines of dehiscence, each midway between a placenta. Seeds ovoid to globose, striate, operculate; embryo small, globose, undifferentiated, apical; endosperm copious, composed of starch and aleurone. x = 8.

One genus with four to ten spp., one native to tropical West Africa, the others to tropical and warm-temperate America.


Plants of Mayaca are rooted in the substrate and often submerged (at least seasonally). The seeds are resistant to desiccation and hence they can grow along river banks and lake margins that experience seasonal drying. They generally grow on depleted sandy soils in the absence of other vegetation indicating that they do not do well in competition.


The Mayacaceae exhibit a disjunct distribution pattern with one species, M. baumii Giirke, occurring in Zaire, Angola, and Zambia in West Africa. The other three to nine species are New World and widespread, ranging from the SE United States through the West Indies and Central America to Paraguay.

Included Genus


  • 1 Kunth(1842). Abh. Königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin
  • 2 Stevenson, D.W. Mayacaceae. Flowering Plants. Monocotyledons: Alismatanae and Commelinanae (except Gramineae) 294-296 (1998).
  • 3 Kunth, K.(C.) S. Original publication of Mayacaceae. (1842).

 Information From

eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • A

    With kind permission from Springer Science+Business Media: This work is subject to copyright. All rights reserved, whether whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, broadcasting reproduction on microfilm or in any other way, and storage in data banks. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the German Copyright Law of September 9, 1965, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer-Verlag. Violations are liable for prosecution under German Copyright Law.

    All Rights Reserved
  • B Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  • C
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • E All Rights Reserved