Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
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Electronic Flora of South Australia family Fact Sheet


Alternative names: Not Applicable

Shrubs or rarely small trees; leaves alternate or spirally arranged, sometimes imbricate or crowded at the ends of the shoots in more or less distinctly spaced pseudowhorls, xeromorphic, generally stiff and coriaceous, often pungent, entire or serrulate, sessile to petiolate, with palmate rarely reticulate venation and lacking stipules.

Inflorescence a spike or spike-like raceme, rarely paniculate or occasionally flowers solitary, each flower subtended by a bract and 2 or more imbricate bracteoles; flowers mostly small, regular, usually bisexual, occasionally polygamous or unisexual; sepals 4 or 5, free, imbricate, persistent; corolla tubular, campanulate to urceolate, with 4 or 5 erect or more often spreading lobes, or rarely the whole corolla fused into a cap or separated into distinct petals; stamens as many as the corolla lobes, rarely fewer and alternate with them, hypogynous and free or adnate to the corolla tube; anthers versatile or rarely adnate and included in or exserted from the corolla to various degrees, opening by a longitudinal slit; ovary superior, 1-10-celled, with one to several ovules per cell, with axile or apical placentation; style simple; hypogynous disk glands usually present surrounding the base of the ovary.

Fruit a drupe or a capsule opening loculicidally; seeds with a straight embryo and fleshy endosperm.

Distribution:  31 genera with about 424 species in Australia, Malesia, Indo-China, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands and South America.

Biology: No text

Key to Genera:
1. Leaves sheathing
1. Leaves not sheathing
2. Style inserted into a depression in the ovary; corolla glabrous
2. Style attenuated from the ovary; corolla lobes and/or tubes with hairs
3. Flowers with bracts and bracteoles several grading in size
4. Corolla tube glabrous below the middle; lobes imbricate in bud
4. Corolla tube with hairs or hairy scales internally below the middle; lobes valvate in bud
5. Anthers and filaments completely exserted from the revolute corolla lobes
5. Anthers and filaments enclosed in the erect base of the corolla lobes
3. Flowers subtended by a single bract and 2 bracteoles
6. Anthers exserted from the corolla tube; corolla lobes with a tuft of erect hairs at the apex
6. Anthers enclosed or only half exserted; lobes glabrous, or bearded
7. Subtending bract and 2 bracteoles inserted at the base of the peduncle some distance from the calyx
7. Subtending bract and 2 bracteoles inserted immediately below the calyx
8. Corolla lobes glabrous; ovary 1-celled
8. Corolla lobes sparsely to densely bearded; ovary 2- or more-celled

Author: Prepared by J. M. Powell, J. Highet & A. Chapman

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