The families of flowering plants
Habit and leaf form. Wiry herbs. Perennial (the plants isolated, clumped, or forming dense swards); without conspicuous aggregations of leaves, or with terminal aggregations of leaves; rhizomatous. Helophytic (Alania), or xerophytic (the Borya spp. being resurrection plants, becoming rusty-orange when dry and reverting to green when moist). Leaves having the blades disarticulating from their bases; small to medium-sized; alternate; spiral; leathery; imbricate; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths not tubular. Leaves simple. Lamina entire; acicular to linear, or subulate (rigid, pungent, biconvex to quadrangular in section); parallel-veined (with massive midrib); without cross-venules. Leaves exstipulate; leaf development not graminaceous.
General anatomy. Plants without laticifers.
Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present. Nectar secretion from the perianth (septal).
Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in inflorescences; in heads, or in umbels (these terminal or in condensed spikes of 3–60 flowers on long scapes). The ultimate inflorescence units racemose. Inflorescences scapiflorous; terminal, or axillary; with involucral bracts; pseudanthial to not pseudanthial; espatheate. Flowers bracteate (the bracts initially closely imbricate, the conspicuous, leaflike, lanceolate to linear, stiff and pungent outer ones succeeded by several smaller, broader ones); bracteolate (the perianth tube of each flower being enfolded by a bracteole); small to medium-sized; regular; 3 merous; tetracyclic. Perigone tube present (usually), or absent (in the monotypic Alania only).
Perianth petaline; 6; free (Alania only), or joined (Borya); 2 whorled (in Borya funnel-shaped or tubular, divided into 6 spreading and deflexing segments); isomerous; petaloid; spotted; similar in the two whorls; white, or brown (-ish - i.e., white or straw-coloured); non-fleshy; not twisting, persistent; non-accrescent. Tepal apex trichomes (TAT) absent.
Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth (hypogynous, in Alania only), or adnate (inserted in the throat of the long tube in Borya); all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Stamens 6; isomerous with the perianth; oppositiperianthial; filantherous (the filaments long, slender or fleshy). Anthers small, ovate, basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse.
Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 3 locular; sessile. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1 (with a single, filiform, entire style); apical. Stigmas 1. Placentation axile. Ovules about 5 per locule.
Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal. Dispersal unit the seed. Fruit 1–3 seeded. Cotyledons 1. Testa distinctively ornamented; encrusted with phytomelan (?); black, or brown.
Physiology, phytochemistry. C3 (?). Anatomy non-C4 type (?).
Geography, cytology. Australian. Temperate and sub-tropical. All Australian.
Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Liliiflorae; Asparagales. APG III core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; non-commelinid Monocot. APG IV Order Asparagales.
Species 12. Genera 2; Borya (11 spp.), Alania (A. cunninghamii only).
General remarks. This is a first draft compilation, lacking data on 'esoteric characters'. Cf. Bentham & Hooker and Australian Floras (e.g. Churchill (1987): Flora of the Perth Region, 2.); Christenhusz et al. (2017).
Illustrations. • Borya constricta and B. sphaerocephala: Churchill, in Flora of Perth Region 2 (1987). • Borya nitida, habitat and flowers (photo). • Borya nitida, with Johnsonia lupulina and Laxmannia gracilis: Nat. Pflanzenfam. II 5 (1888).
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: 5th March 2018. delta-intkey.com/angio’.