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

Small trees, shrubs, twiners or herbs; leaves alternate, rarely opposite or verticillate, simple, entire, usually exstipulate, sometimes reduced or absent.

Inflorescence a raceme, spike or panicle with flowers on bracteate peduncles, bracts often minute or caducous; flowers bisexual, zygomorphic; sepals 5, imbricate, usually free or rarely 2 or all united, subequal or the inner 2 (wings) large and petal-like; petals 3 or 5, free or variously united, often joined to the staminal tube, sub- or unequal; lower petal often keel-like and pouched, lobed or crested; stamens 10 or fewer, usually 8, often united below into an open tube, but occasionally free; anthers basifixed, 1- or 2-celled, opening by a single pore or longitudinal slit; ovary superior, usually 2-celled but occasionally to 8-celled with 1 anatropous pendulous ovule in each cell, rarely 1-celled with numerous ovules; style simple but often lobed at the apex.

Fruit usually a capsule, often conspicuously winged, rarely a nut or a drupe; seeds often with long hairs.

Distribution:  Widespread in temperate and tropical regions of the world; 18 genera and over 1,000 species; 4 genera native to Australia. (This treatment has made much use of data in Thompson (1978) Flora of N.S.W. 112).

Biology: No text

Key to Genera:
1. Sepals unequal, 2 inner large and wing-like; stamens 8; anthers opening by apical pores
2. Capsule usually cuneate and much narrowed at the base, rarely almost orbicular; seeds not carunculate, hairs on seeds usually lengthening into a coma
2. Capsule obovate, obcordate or ovate to orbicular; seeds carunculate, hairs on seeds not lengthening into a coma
1. Sepals subequal, 2 inner not large and wing-like; stamens 7; anthers opening by longitudinal slits

Author: Prepared by K. Stove

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