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, glabrous, usually parasitic on the roots of other plants; leaves opposite or alternate, entire, often reduced to scales, exstipulate.

Flowers small, bisexual or unisexual, regular; perianth in 1 whorl, petaloid, of 3-5 small fleshy valvate segments; stamens as many as the segments and opposite them; ovary usually inferior, 1-celled, with 1-5 ovules hanging from a free central placenta; style simple or sometimes wanting; ovules without an outer covering and sometimes obscure; when the ovary is inferior it is surmounted by the more or less flat disk in the centre of the perianth segments, when it is half-inferior the campanulate receptacular tube bears the 4 protruding lobes of the disk inside the perianth-segments.

Fruit a drupe or nut.

Distribution:  About 30 genera and 400 species in tropical and temperate regions; 10 genera in Australia.

Biology: No text

Key to Genera:
1. Leaves on mature shoots minute to 0.7 cm long, almost always alternate
2. Ovary inferior
3. Flowers in short racemes or spikes; each flower with 1 deciduous bract
3. Flowers clustered or single along branches; each flower with 3-10 persistent bracts
2. Ovary superior
4. Female flowers often solitary; male flowers 1-3 in clusters; bisexual flowers 0 (NW region only)
4. Female, male and bisexual flowers in small axillary spikes or clusters (widespread)
1. Leaves at least 1.5 cm long, almost always opposite

Author: Prepared by J.P. Jessop

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