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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Anemarrhenaceae Conran, M.W. Chase & Rudall

~ Agavaceae, Anthericaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs. Leaves well developed. Perennial; with a basal aggregation of leaves; shortly rhizomatous. Leaves alternate; spiral (?); sheathing; ‘normally orientated’; simple. Lamina entire; grass-like, linear; parallel-veined; without cross-venules (?). Lamina margins entire. Leaf development ‘graminaceous’.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Plants hermaphrodite (with the supposedly dioecious Terauchia representing a smut-induced monstrosity).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in panicles (these condensed, spicate). Inflorescences not scapiflorous; terminal; terminal, erect, pedunculate, leafy, spicate condensed panicles. Flowers small; regular; 3 merous; tetracyclic. Perigone tube present (the tepals connivent into a short tube, the narrow, 3-nerved segments spreading).

Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; joined (the segments free above the perigone tube); 2 whorled; isomerous; sepaloid to petaloid (?); similar in the two whorls; green to white, or purple, or brown (with brownish veins); persistent; non-accrescent. Tepal apex trichomes (TAT) present.

Androecium 3. Androecial members adnate (to the inner segments); all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 3; isomerous with the perianth; oppositiperianthial (attached to the middle of the inner perianth segments); filantherous (the filaments short and flat). Anthers dorsifixed (linear); versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Microsporogenesis successive.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 3 celled (and 3-angled). Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 3 locular; sessile. Gynoecium shortly stylate. Styles 1 (filiform); apical. Stigmas 1 (small); capitate (small). Placentation basal to axile. Ovules 2 per locule; ascending; collateral; non-arillate; anatropous.

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule (sub-globosse to triquetrous). Capsules loculicidal. Dispersal unit the seed. Fruit 3–6 seeded (1–2 per locule). Seeds endospermic (endosperm fleshy); fusiform-triangular. Seeds without starch. Cotyledons 2. Embryo cylindric. Testa encrusted with phytomelan; black.

Seedling. Hypocotyl internode absent. Cotyledon hyperphyll elongated; more or less circular in t.s. Coleoptile absent. Primary root persistent.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic, Paleotropical. North China.

Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Liliiflorae; Asparagales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; non-commelinid Monocot; Order Asparagales (as a synonym of Asparagaceae).

Species 1. Genera 1; Anemarrhena only.

General remarks. Data mostly from Conran et al. (1997). This description is insufficiently detailed, and inadequate for cross-referencing with Anthericaceae; but it depicts Anemarrhena as differing from Asparagaceae (q.v.) in habit and leaf form, the single whorl of 3 stamens and the capsular fruit, also in seedling morphology.

Economic uses, etc. Cultivated ornamental.

Illustrations. • Anemarrhena asphodeloides: Fl. China.


We advise against extracting comparative information from the descriptions. This is much more easily achieved using the DELTA data files or the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, distributions of character states within any set of taxa, geographical distribution, genera included in each family, and classifications (Dahlgren; Dahlgren, Clifford, and Yeo; Cronquist; APG). See also Guidelines for using data taken from Web publications.


Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Version: 24th October 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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