Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. W. John Hayden

Second Advisor

Dr. Rafael O. de Sa

Third Advisor

Dr. Miles F. Johnson


This thesis is a taxonomic revision of Discocarpus, a genus of three species of trees from seasonally inundated forests of northern South America. Discocarpus is classified in the family Euphorbiaceae. The Euphorbiaceae or spurge family is a large and diverse taxon of angiosperms consisting of approximately 7000 species placed in 300 genera, comprising 49 tribes and 5 subfamilies (Webster 1994b). The origin of the family is likely Western Gondwanaland, and the earliest fossils identified as Euphorbiaceae date to the Paleocene (Raven & Axelrod 1974). The family is predominately tropical, however, species of Euphorbiaceae are important throughout most of the world except arctic and alpine regions (Raven & Axelrod 1974).

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