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 trees, sometimes climbing; leaves simple, alternate (in S.Aust. species) or opposite; stipules usually present, often caducous; inflorescence usually cymose.

flowers small, regular, bisexual (rarely unisexual), sometimes apetalous; floral tube usually present, united or not to the ovary; sepals 4 or 5, valvate; petals 4 or 5, occasionally absent, usually small, may be strongly concave and/or clawed at the base; stamens 4 or 5, alternating with the sepals, inserted on the outer rim of the disk or on the floral tube, often enclosed by the petals; disk usually well-developed, intra-staminal; ovary free or more or less united to the floral tube, l-4-celled; ovules 1, rarely 2, erect from the base, anatropous.

Fruit a drupe or a capsule splitting septicidally at the summit into (usually 3) coriaceous or membranous fruitlets; seed erect, usually ovoid-compressed, arillate and albuminous; embryo straight with a short inferior radicle.

Distribution:  A cosmopolitan family of about 58 genera and 900 species; in Australia 15 genera (11 endemic) and about 145 species (about 140 endemic) are native, and 2 genera and 2 species are adventive.

Biology: No text

Key to Genera:
1. Ovary superior; sepals deciduous; glabrous shrub (introduced)
1. Ovary partly or quite inferior; sepals persistent; more or less hairy shrubs (genera all Australasian)
2. Floral tube extended well beyond the ovary and disk
2. Floral tube adnate to, and scarcely extended beyond, the ovary and disk
3. Petals none, or not hood-shaped and enclosing the anthers; disk inconspicuous
3. Petals present, hood-shaped and enclosing the anthers; disk conspicuous
4. Flowers pedicellate, not in heads; bracts caducous
4. Flowers not pedicellate, in heads surrounded by persistent bracts and floral leaves

Author: Prepared by E. M. Canning except as indicated.

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