DELTA home

The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Cynomoriaceae Lindl.

~ Balanophoraceae

Habit and leaf form. Red or reddish brown herbs (with thick, simple flowering stems). Plants of very peculiar vegetative form (without chlorophyll, the unbranched stems with reduced leaves and terminating in crimson, clavate inflorescences); more or less fungoid. Leaves much reduced. Plants with roots; succulent; parasitic; haustorially parasitic; not green; parasitic on roots of the host (including Amaranthaceae, Cistaceae, Tamaricaceae, Nitrariaceae). Perennial; rhizomatous (the rhizomes bearing haustoria). Leaves alternate; membranous (reduced to deltoid scales).

Leaf anatomy. Stomata present.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Primary vascular tissues collateral. Secondary thickening absent.

The vessel end-walls simple.

Reproductive type, pollination. Unisexual flowers present. Plants monoecious, or polygamomonoecious (?). Gynoecium of male flowers pistillodial (small).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in spikes, or in heads. Inflorescences terminal, crimson, clavate (phalloid), ‘composed of numerous suppressed false capitula’ (Airy Shaw 1973). Flowers minute.

Perianth sepaline (?); 1–5(–8) (male flowers), or 1–5 (female flowers); free, or joined (?).

Androecium 1. Androecial members free of the perianth. Stamens 1. Anthers versatile; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colpate, or colporate (to colporoidate); 2-celled.

Gynoecium of female and bisexual flowers, on the evidence of the style, 2 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous (but pseudomonomerous); supposedly synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous (pseudomonomerous); inferior. Ovary 1 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1 (flattened, longitudinally grooved, with two stigmatic points); apical. Placentation apical. Ovules in the single cavity 1; pendulous; without integuments, or unitegmic (?); Embryology not recorded, and not safely predictable from descriptions of Balanophoraceae.

Fruit non-fleshy; small, indehiscent; a nut. Seeds endospermic; with a testa. Embryo rudimentary at the time of seed release.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic. Temperate to sub-tropical. Mediterranean.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli, or Tenuinucelli (?). Dahlgren’s Superorder Balanophoriflorae; Balanophorales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Santalales. APG III core angiosperms; core eudicot; unplaced at Superordinal level. APG IV Order Saxifragales.

Species 1 (Cynomorium coccineum). Genera 1; only genus, Cynomorium.

Illustrations. • Le Maout and Decaisne: Cynomorium coccineum. • Cynomorium coccineum: Marilaun & Hansen, Der Bau und die Eigenschaften der Pflanzen 1 (1887).

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: 15th April 2018.’.